Women’s Health Kuel Category Expert: Lisa King
Summertime, summertime! Summer is the time of year to be a bit more relaxed, spend time with friends and family and enjoy the beautiful weather. However; summertime activities may be contributing factors to bladder issues for women with a painful bladder, overactive bladder or chronic Urinary Tract Infections.
Summer barbecues are a time to get together with friends and family. Despite the pandemic, you may still be getting together with smaller family groups to enjoy a backyard barbecue. When enjoying barbecue foods, keep in mind that many foods can be bladder irritants for women who have bladder issues.
A Starting Point Of Foods To Avoid:
- Spicy foods- such as salsa or spicy barbecue rubs
- Acidic foods- such as tomatoes or vinaigrettes
- Caffeine- including sodas (carbonation is a bladder No-NO ), iced tea and coffee
- Alcohol- all alcohol including margaritas, sangria and other backyard favorites
- Chocolate- this includes your favorite S’Mores or chocolate desserts
“natural sugars can be a “food” for bacteria to thrive on for women who have chronic UTIs”
While it may seem that there are many foods to avoid, you may think that summer is the perfect time to enjoy many fruits and vegetables. Those are healthier choices than packaged or preserved foods, however; fruit can be especially high in sugar. Even natural sugars can be a “food” for bacteria to thrive on for women who have chronic UTIs. So, if you are experiencing those yourself you, may want to look at how much fruit you are eating on a daily basis. Many fruits can also irritate the bladder for women who have a painful bladder. When choosing fruits to enjoy if you experience bladder pain, look for blueberries, pears and watermelon as your go to fruits.
Summer is also the time to enjoy a sweet and cold treat after dinner while out or at home. Making home-made ice cream is a fun family activity. Eating ice cream or ices after dinner is very refreshing. However; those cold treats are often very high in sugar. Again, this can be an issue for women with recurrent UTIs and sugar can often be a trigger for women with bladder pain. Start to look at sugar content on labels. I recommend the American Heart Association Recommendation of 25g of added sugar per day. This is a very generous number and you can use this number as a starting point and reduce from there. Artificial sweeteners can trigger bladder pain or overactive bladder so work on reducing sugar as opposed to switching to an artificial sugar substitute.
Hydration Is Essential
“ Aim for half of your healthy body weight in ounces daily.
While you are enjoying your summer, be sure you are staying hydrated too. Summer heat often leads to dehydration. A more concentrated urine can cause more bladder pain and frequency. It is also a breeding ground for bacteria, if you are susceptible to urinary tract infections. Aim for half of your healthy body weight in ounces daily. Water is your friend when you have bladder issues. However; I have spoken to women who have an overactive bladder who were drinking more than the recommended amount of water daily and were using the bathroom very frequently. Be sure to find the right balance between drinking enough water for a healthy lifestyle and too much water that can lead to keeping you in the bathroom all day and night.
Summertime can be easy living when you have bladder issues by following the tips above. Avoiding foods that can be bladder triggers, reducing sugar, and staying hydrated are all solutions to bladder issues in the summer and all year long!