Your Bladder and the Holidays
The holidays may have a bigger impact on our bladder health than you might think.
Holiday food can make urinary health less cheery
6 Simple Tips for a Healthy Bladder During the Holidays
We’re not Scrooges here – we encourage festivities during the holidays. But we’re also big fans of a healthy 2019, and a few painless guidelines will help ensure it as you navigate the over-indulging events that have come to define the holiday season. And we promise, you can even over-indulge a little, too:
Alternate cocktails with water. Alcohol increases the production of urine, causing your body to release water faster and more frequently. This can lead to dehydration. A shortage of fluids in your system can result in a buildup of body waste in the urine, which can irritate the bladder, the Mayo Clinic reports.
Eat the cookies, but also eat salad. The rich foods that make the holidays so special might cling to your digestive system as well as your midsection. Constipation is a leading contributor to bladder incontinence. Balance out sugary, high-fat cheeses, dips and desserts with fiber-rich holiday foods.
Avoid tobacco smoke. Not much to add here. Cigarette smoking causes more than half of the bladder cancers in the U.S.
Be a restroom regular. Be sure to use the bathroom when you need to. If you hold it in and wait until the last minute, your bladder may not empty completely and the residual urine, if left in the bladder too long, can contribute to a bladder and/or urinary tract infection.
Make decaf the (occasional) new black. Caffeine, like alcohol, is a diuretic, which causes the body to produce more urine while stimulating the urgency to pee. This can exacerbate the compromised function of an overactive bladder, a leading cause of urinary incontinence.
Wear that awesome outfit, but wear it well. You should look great during the holidays, but also be comfortable and mindful of future comfort. Tight-fitting pants, pantyhose and nylon underwear can trap moisture while keeping you warm, which is an environment that breeding bacteria love. And bacteria, when grown in the urine, cause urinary tract infections (UTIs).
The Holidays and Overactive Bladder (OAB)
While a nuisance, overactive bladder is not life-threatening, and is oftentimes minimized through behavioral modifications such as food choices. When sitting down at the holiday table, remember that there are many dietary items that can affect or trigger OAB. These choices include:
- Cranberry juice
- Citrus juices
- Foods loaded with sugar
- Carbonated beverages
- Alcoholic beverages
- Spicy foods
These foods are known bladder irritants. Reducing or cutting out these irritants can help relax the bladder. This helps the bladder hold more urine for longer periods of time.