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Ask The Doc: Which Drinks Should I Avoid To Protect My Bladder

QUESTION: WE HAVE A LOT OF HOLIDAY PARTIES COMING UP AND I’M NERVOUS THAT DRINKING TOO MUCH ALCOHOL WILL IRRITATE MY BLADDER. WHAT DRINKS SHOULD I AVOID, AND ARE THERE ANY DRINKS THAT MAY BE BETTER THAN OTHERS?

Answer: This is a tough one, as everyone is different, and certain food or drink may irritate people in different ways. In general, alcoholic drinks can be big bladder irritants, not only because of the alcohol, which can irritate the bladder and dehydrate you but also because of the sugar found in many mixed holiday drinks. If you have kept a bladder diary for a period of time and have identified alcohol as a bladder irritant, it’s really best to avoid it altogether.

However, if you must partake, there may be certain drinks that are more likely to irritate your bladder than others. Here are 6 tips you can follow that may help you have fun and stay dry.

6 TIPS TO AVOID BLADDER IRRITATION WHEN DRINKING

  1. Stick to clear drinks. While not always the case, clear drinks tend to have a little less sugar than brightly colored ones. Mix drinks with plain or sparkling water, or add ice to dilute the alcohol a bit.
  2. Avoid high sugar drinks or drinks with a lot of caffeine or acidity. Avoiding the main culprits is the name of the game here. Many mixers contain lots of sugar. Avoid things like power drinks, which contain lots of sugar and caffeine, sugary sodas and juices, or other high sugar drinks like Champagne or sparkling wine.
  3. Make a spritzer by mixing your wine with sparkling water. Love wine but want to make it a bit more tolerable for your bladder? Take only half a glass and mix it with sparkling water. You’ll not only lower your alcohol and sugar intake, but you’ll also help yourself stay hydrated.
  4. Make sure to follow each drink with a glass of water. Not only will this help dilute the alcohol in your system and your bladder, but it will help keep you hydrated too. And if you’re in a social situation where it feels strange to drink plain water, ask the bartender for sparkling water and throw in a slice of cucumber, lemon, or lime. You’ll feel more festive and no one will be the wiser.
  5. Don’t drink on an empty stomach. This really goes for everyone, but if you’re drinking, be sure to have a meal before or with your alcoholic beverages. This will help the alcohol to be absorbed into your system more slowly, and will hopefully help you keep your wits about you so that you don’t over-consume.
  6. Opt for a “Mocktail”. While you still have to be careful of the sugar content in these, there are many new and improved non-alcoholic drinks being served up these days that can keep you in party mode without the harmful effects of alcohol. Ask the bartender for a good low-sugar option.

Have any tips for avoiding bladder irritation over the holidays? Share them with us in the comments below!

Are you an expert in incontinence care? Would you like to join the NAFC expert panel? Contact us!

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