What's Pissing Off Your Bladder?

Dr. Ashley, did you just say piss off the bladder?


Yes, friend, that's exactly what I said.


If you've ever been out with the gals celebrating with bottles of bubbly and realized that you take a few extra trips to the bathroom when drinking alcohol than normally during the day? That's because alcohol and bubbly things are common bladder irritants. The bladder makes sure these guys don't extend their stay and kicks them out (aka sending you to the loo to flush them out). The medical term for having to pee all the time is urinary frequency. Urinary frequency isn't always due to irritants, but it may start that way and turn into a habit. The bladder thinking it needs to empty often because it's used to it.


I don't know about you, but when I was a kid, my parents always made sure I peed before I got in the care to go places.


I took it upon myself to triple check I had all the pee out, because I was worried I'd have to go in the car. How ridiculous is that belief? I could have said, "Mom, I've gotta pee" and there's millions of gas stations to pop a squat at. But my brain didn't think that, it thought, what a inconvenience to stop when we have somewhere to be; get out all the pee NOW. Little did I know I was setting myself up for some pretty bad bladder habits. That small habit created more. I peed 4x before going to sleep. Yes, I admit this to you. I would pee, get it bed, think about if I have to pee again, try again and repeat about 4x each night. My bladder consumed my brain. I caused it to be pissed off. And the act of sleeping and going for a drive were where my childhood bladder habits began.


I'd be lying if I don't you that I didn't consume common bladder irritants. But I've trained my bladder to not be pissed off and I've kicked my childhood habits. If I found that what I'm eating and drinking is irritating my bladder, I'd make the switch (or choose to keep pissing it off and stop complaining, but accept that I love my irritants and frequency isn't affecting my quality of life enough to make the change). If you're wondering what are common irritants to the bladder causing it to want to empty more frequently?


Here's a short list of the most common bladder irritants:


1. Alcohol

2. Caffeine

3. Refined sugars

4. Carbonation

5. Citrus

6. Acidic foods

7. Tea

8. Spicy foods


This is not an extensive list and just because it's on the list doesn't mean it irritates YOUR bladder. The best way to find out is to do a bladder diary. Think of it as a food journal following a daily timeline: write down what you eat/drink and when, measure how much you pee (also the time of day), did you feel like you had to run to that toilet, walk briskly or went just because and didn't really have an urge. The urge part is also important because it shows you if something you ingested gave you the "I gotta go right now" sensation. The medical term for that is called urinary urgency. Urgency and frequency can go together, but it's possible to have one and not the other. I didn't spend much time talking about urgency, I'll save that for another post and talk about triggers and at that time.

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