Food and Incontinence: Is There a Connection?

Jessica Lubahn 8 min read

Food and Incontinence: Is There a Connection?

Coughing. Sneezing. Laughing. 

Does the mere thought of these things make you cringe? If you suffer from urinary incontinence, it’s understandable. 

When you leak unexpectedly, even if it is just a tiny amount of urine, the quality of your life can be adversely affected. 

In many adults, this causes social embarrassment and feelings of inadequacy. 

Luckily, there are simple things you can do to fight urinary incontinence — such as watching what foods you eat. 

This article will teach you which foods and drinks act as bladder irritants, which foods and drinks produce urine quickly, and much more. 


urinary incontinence foods to avoid

Table of Contents

Can Foods Cause Incontinence?

Even though there is a link between an overactive bladder and diet, there are no specific foods that cause incontinence. However, certain foods may irritate the bladder and exacerbate your symptoms. 

Additionally, it is important to note that it’s not always what you drink or eat. Sometimes, how much you eat or drink can worsen symptoms. 

Managing Urinary Incontinence: Foods To Avoid and Beverages To Limit for Fewer Leaks

Want to avoid numerous trips to the bathroom? You can save some of these trips by being mindful of what you eat and drink. 

Food and Drinks That Can Act as Bladder Irritants

There are a few foods and drinks that can irritate your bladder and cause it to leak urine. Prevention and planning are the keys to preventing embarrassing leaks. 

If you are suffering from incontinence, do not hesitate to use incontinence underwear.

ONDRwear was developed by a urologist who witnessed the daily frustration and embarrassment that arose from incontinence in both men and women. 

With ONDRwear, you can feel more confident when dealing with incontinence!

urinary incontinence foods to avoid

Acidic Foods

Fruits and juices with acid, such as …

  • Grapefruit
  • Orange
  • Lime; and
  • Lemon

… may irritate your bladder and worsen incontinence symptoms. 

You should still consume fruit as part of a healthy diet, but choose less acidic varieties, like: 

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Mangoes; and
  • Pears

Tomatoes are another acidic fruit found in most diets. It depends on the individual, but if you notice tomatoes increasing incontinence, try cutting out: 

  • Tomato sauce
  • Tomato paste
  • Tomato juice
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Taco sauce; and
  • Salsa
foods to avoid with incontinence

Spicy Foods

Do you ever eat spicy foods and find your eyes begin to water and your lips start burning? Imagine that happening to your bladder. 

Some spicy foods can irritate your bladder, just like those spicy foods that cause your eyes to water and your lips to burn. This is because capsaicin and other compounds in spicy foods can irritate the tissues lining your bladder, causing spasms in the bladder muscles. 

If you suffer from incontinence and notice it is worse after consuming a spicy meal, be wary of spicy peppers and sauces.

Everyone reacts differently, so know which spicy foods affect you before cutting them out of your diet. 

Salty Foods

Salty foods can be another trigger for those with incontinence. 

Foods that are high in salt, such as …

  • Potato chips
  • Cured meats
  • Cold cuts
  • Canned soups
  • Salted nuts; and
  • Peanut butter

... make your body retain water, which eventually causes the bladder to overflow. Plus, salty foods make you thirstier, so you are more likely to drink water. 

If you want to limit your salt intake, you should: 

  • Avoid prepackaged and processed foods, as salt is often used to preserve them.
  • Consider salt-free seasonings and herbs and experiment with flavor profiles you enjoy. 
  • Consider low-sodium options and read nutrition labels carefully.
  • Make sure to ask servers for low-sodium preparations at restaurants.

Artificial Sweeteners

The term ‘sugar substitute’ refers to sweeteners that are used instead of regular table sugar — and like spicy foods — they are known to irritate the bladder

The use of artificial sweeteners can cause hyperactivity in your bladder if used in large amounts. Because of this, bladder spasms occur, causing the muscle to work overtime, not just when it should.

Some artificial sweeteners that may irritate your bladder include: 

  • Sodium saccharine
  • Acesulfame K; and
  • Aspartame

A few drinks that have artificial sweeteners in them include: 

  • Diet sodas
  • “Light” lemonades; and
  • Diet teas

In addition, artificial sweeteners can worsen incontinence by acting as diuretics.

To avoid potential incontinence triggers, stay away from sugar substitutes in foods and drinks. It may be a good idea to switch to stevia-sweetened products instead — since research has shown stevia does not cause bladder irritation.

Drinks That Create Urine Quickly


The stimulant properties of coffee are well known. In fact, the most widely consumed psychoactive drug in the world is caffeine. 

Since caffeine stimulates the bladder, high caffeine consumption is often accompanied by increased urination. And people with healthy bladders may also experience incontinence as a result of a high intake of caffeine.

Additionally, the bladder's detrusor muscles determine its capacity limits and regulate its output. Caffeine relaxes the detrusor muscles, causing the bladder to feel full more frequently. 

If you are wanting to decrease your caffeine intake, make sure to avoid the following: 

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Energy drinks; and
  • Soda
foods to avoid with urinary incontinence


Increased urination is also associated with drinking alcohol. In fact, alcohol causes you to urinate at a much quicker rate than other liquids. 

Because alcohol is a diuretic, it promotes water loss through the urine. It does this by inhibiting vasopressin, a hormone that regulates water excretion.

Additionally, depending on the number of drinks consumed, alcohol can impair your ability to notice urges, increasing your risk of accidents. 

Designed by a urologist, ONDRwear is the ideal solution if you are worried about incontinence embarrassment.

Besides just keeping you dry and fresh, ONDRwear is also:

  • Comfortable
  • Eco-friendly
  • Sustainable
  • Machine washable; and 
  • Naturally odor-free

Start living life worry-free with ONDRwear today.


urinary incontinence foods to avoid



Healthy carbonated drinks are readily available in grocery stores — but they might cause problems for individuals with sensitive bladders.

Even without sweeteners or chemicals, carbonated drinks can trigger urinary incontinence symptoms. This is because the carbon dioxide in carbonated drinks (with or without caffeine) can irritate sensitive bladders, leading to urge incontinence.

Additionally, carbonated beverages suppress the effect of the antidiuretic hormone, which may lead to increased urination compared to regular water or other non-fizzy drinks.

To decrease your symptoms of urinary incontinence, you should limit your intake of: 

  • Seltzer water
  • Sparkling wine
  • Club soda
  • Soda pop; and
  • Anything else with carbonation

Will Avoiding Trigger Foods Guarantee Incontinence Improvement?


Avoiding trigger foods won’t guarantee incontinence improvement. However, if you are suffering from urinary incontinence, you may find that avoiding offending foods is worth a try!

The Foods To Avoid With Urinary Incontinence May Differ From Person to Person

There is no “one size fits all” when determining which foods to avoid with incontinence. Here are a few things to try to determine which foods trigger your bladder. 

Keep a Bladder Diary

Keeping a bladder diary is a way to keep track of …

  • Urinary
  • Dietary; and 
  • Lifestyle habits 

… that might contribute to incontinence. 

Bladder diaries are a little more detailed than your average diary and include the following details: 

  • Trips to the bathrooms
  • Accidental leaks
  • Fluid intake
  • Meals and snacks; and
  • Any other details you feel are noteworthy

It’s important to be willing to consistently document your daily habits to see what could be triggering for you. 

Implement an Elimination Diet

While keeping a bladder diary, you can also try an elimination diet to cut things out of your diet to see if incontinence symptoms improve.

An elimination diet identifies foods that may be adversely affecting you. Foods suspected of causing incontinence are excluded from your diet — and reintroduced one at a time.

Here’s how an elimination diet works. For a week at a time, remove one type of food from your diet to determine if it is causing your bladder problems. If the food does not cause bladder problems, feel free to include it in your diet. 

Keep in mind that some people can be adversely affected by more than one type of food. 

ONDRwear: Quality Leak Protection for Urinary Incontinence

Wouldn't it be wonderful to walk out the door knowing that whatever your bladder decides, you’ll be leak-free and protected all day? 

ONDRwear makes it possible! Our incontinence undies are: 

  • Incredibly absorbent
  • Clean and odorless
  • Plant-based 
  • Comfortable and soft
  • Suitable for men and women; and
  • Offered in a variety of styles and sizes

Layers are the secret of ONDRwear’s construction. Our layers: 

  • Feature modal algae lining, which is breathable and antimicrobial
  • Use hydrophilic, one-way absorption that pulls liquid away from you for a dry feeling all day long
  • Hold up to nine teaspoons of liquid  —, 25% more than the leading brand
  • Are made of nylon and spandex to move with you without requiring tugging and pulling

Get ONDRwear today — and get rid of bladder incontinence embarrassment for good.


The content in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.