Dietary Habits that Trigger Elderly Urinary Incontinence

Urinary Incontinence is a medical issue that affects many men and women each year. Anyone, of any age, can suffer from the issue, but elderly men and women are more prone to the issue. Urinary Incontinence is highly common in the elderly, and can lead to other medical issues. Patients with the issue need to go to the restroom frequently, which increases their mobility. In turn, elderly patients with urinary incontinence have higher fall rates and higher rates of broken bones. Urinary incontinence can be due to underlying medical issues, or due to aging. In both cases, treatments are available to help the patient feel more comfortable and rid them of their issue. Medical treatments for medically diagnosed urinary incontinence are highly successful. However, if your incontinence is simply from growing older, then you may be able to tweak your diet just slightly in order to feel relief. Here are a few foods and drinks that may trigger urinary incontinence in the elderly. Avoid these foods and drinks, and you will soon find yourself running to the bathroom far less.

Spicy Foods

Spicy foods are often irritating to your mouth and your digestive tract. However, spicy foods can also be very irritating to your bladder. The lining of your bladder cannot stand spicy foods, and right after eating foods doused with hot sauce, you may notice that your urinary incontinence greatly increases. Switching out the hot sauce and pepper for milder spices and tastes can greatly help you manage your urinary incontinence. Try to completely remove curry, chili powder, cayenne, fresh onions, jalapeños, and horseradish from any of your daily dishes in order to simplify your palette and reduce your symptoms.

Acidic Foods

Acidic foods such as citrus fruits can greatly increase your urinary incontinence symptoms. These foods will irritate your bladder and cause your incontinence to worsen. To eradicate your symptoms of urinary incontinence, simply switch out citrus fruits in your diet to other fruits. Also, removing vinegars from your diet has been shown to reduce symptoms of urinary incontinence.

Coffee or Tea

Coffee and Tea are both considered to be diuretics. They also contain caffeine, which will stimulate your bladder tremendously. Even simply reducing your coffee or tea intake to one cup per day can show a great difference in your symptoms.


While drinking eight glasses of fluids per day may be optimal for your health, it may not be that great for your urinary incontinence. Doctors and health professionals all claim that drinking eight, eight ounce glasses of fluids per day will keep your body healthy and happy. However, for people who suffer from urinary incontinence, drinking this many fluids can be troublesome. Water and juices can really affect your urinary incontinence, especially if you drink eight glasses of the fluids per day. Instead, drink fluids whenever you are thirsty and stop whenever you are no longer thirsty. Your body will tell you if it is dehydrated. Plus, stay away from acidic juices such as cranberry juice and orange juice. These juices can irritate your bladder and increase your symptoms.

Carbonated Drinks

Carbonated drinks can bring the same double whammy that coffee and tea do. They are both fizzy, which irritates the bladder, and can be full of caffeine, which will stimulate the bladder. Even drinking non-caffeinated drinks can affect your bladder due to the carbonation in the drinks causing them to be fizzy. Eliminated carbonated drinks from your diet can directly show a difference in your urinary incontinence.

Sugar and Any Type of Sweetener

Sugar and sweeteners have been linked to increasing symptoms of urinary incontinence. Sugar, especially, can exacerbate your symptoms. Drinking sugary drinks or eating sugary foods can irritate your bladder and cause your symptoms to increase. Honey, corn syrup and artificial sweeteners can also exacerbate your symptoms and leave you running to the bathroom.

Salty Foods

Salty foods will cause your body’s cells and tissues to retain water. As they do so, your urinary incontinence may seem to get better at first, but at some point, your symptoms will reappear and you will notice an increase in your symptoms. As the salt is released from your cells and tissues, you will see an increase in symptoms, and will be running to the bathroom often. Look for foods that have low sodium contents to decrease your symptoms.


Just like coffee or tea, alcohol is considered to be a diuretic. It will reduce your bladder control and you will find yourself running to the bathroom often. Alcohol works by sending signals to your brain that you have to use the restroom. The more alcohol you drink, the more you will have to use the restroom, which makes people with urinary incontinence more prone to accidents. Avoiding alcohol at all costs will help you to control your urinary incontinence. However, if you do drink socially, then having just one drink will be in your best interest.

Urinary incontinence can be a horrible issue that leads to falls and broken bones. On a mild scale, the issue can greatly affect your life by causing you to constantly have to find and use bathrooms. Going out in public or driving in long car rides can become tedious and difficult. Thankfully, many elderly people will only experience age-related urinary incontinence which can be controlled with small changes in your diet. Even if you are experiencing urinary incontinence due to a medical issue, then these simple dietary changes may also help you. Each person is different, and therefore some of these tips may help you and others may not. However, try out all of these simple tips to see if you can reduce your symptoms. By reducing your symptoms even slightly, you may be able to reduce your risk for falls and broken bones, and return to your daily activities before your urinary incontinence becomes an issue. If these tips and dietary changes do not help you, then talk with your doctor to learn more about the medical treatments on the market today for urinary incontinence.