Switching caffeine-based beverages for water is almost always a great choice.
People develop irritable bladders for a number of reasons, but it’s not a topic that gets talked about a huge deal. Probably because a lot of people expect an irritable bladder to be something which only develops later in life. However, as a person in their early thirties, I can confirm that my bladder is something I have to manage on a daily basis, and that means monitoring what I drink.
The symptoms of an irritable bladder include waking in the night several times to pee, having a sudden urge to urinate, and being unable to control your bladder, and possibly even peeing a little as a result. Basically, the struggle is real.
My irritable bladder is caused by multiple sclerosis, but that’s not the only condition that can trigger an irritable bladder. As the Mayo Clinic notes, things that can cause an overactive bladder include: neurological conditions, infections, excessive alcohol or caffeine, certain medications, and other health issues. If you think you might have an irritable bladder, then it’s worth consulting a medical professional.
For me, I realized I had a problem when I needed to rush to the toilet once an hour. This meant that sleeping through the night was impossible, as I’d routinely wake up desperate for a pee several times before morning. I was tired, cranky, and felt as though I was getting a urinary tract infection far too often. And sometimes, I was getting an infection for real, but because my bladder felt so acidic so often, it became difficult to tell for sure.
My MS nurse suggested I get a bladder test, and immediately asked me what I’d been drinking. As a heavy soda drinker, she suggested I cut right back on my intake of Coca Cola. She gave me a helpful list of drinks that make the bladder more active than it should be, such as citrus juices, soda, tea, coffee. The thought of cutting down on all of my caffeine intake was terrifying, but if it was going to help my overactive bladder, it was worth a try. Here are just some of the ways you can manage an irritable bladder.
Drink more water, and less fizzy or caffeine based drinks
As Health.com says, drinking both too much, or too little, liquid can cause an irritable bladder. If I’ve forgotten to have enough water, this causes a severe burning when I pee, not unlike the feeling when you have a urinary tract infection. Conversely, returning to my old habits of drinking too much soda makes me way more aware of my bladder, and makes the urge to pee even greater. If you’re peeing too frequently and it’s interfering with your day to day life, then check the list of drinks that aggravate your bladder, and moderate your intake. Switching caffeine-based beverages for water is almost always a great choice, although I find that a water-based coffee, such as an americano, is usually fine on my bladder.
Make sure you empty your bladder fully when you pee
As my sensation has been affected by my multiple sclerosis, I’m not always 100% sure I’ve emptied my bladder fully. But it’s so important to make sure you’ve flushed out all of the urine in your bladder, so that germs can’t manifest, causing infections, and irritating the bladder more than is necessary.
Always pee right after sex
Before I began moderating what I drink, I often developed urinary tract infections after having sex. This was a combination of my irritated bladder, and the germs that come into contact with the urethra during sex. Making sure that I pee right after sex ensures that any germs are flushed away, and I also find that showering wards off any potential infections. Everyone’s different, but for me, mixing sex with an irritable bladder was once a deadly combo. Drinking plenty of water before sex also helps, and makes sure than my bladder isn’t overly stimulated.