Don't let your bladder be a Christmas Grinch

Old man smiling at Christmas time

Don't let your bladder be the Christmas Grinch

The festive season is often a time when we let ourselves go a little, and indulge in everything from a plateful of turkey to those Belgian chocolates that only seem to appear at this time of year. After a tough 2020 we all deserve some treats, but when you have a bladder condition it’s also important to be mindful of the things that affect your condition. Here’s our guide to ensuring you enjoy the Christmas break.

There’s no avoiding it, caffeine can increase those toilet visits. Try decaf versions of tea and coffee, and avoid fizzy drinks full of caffeine.
Sadly, milk chocolate also contains caffeine. However, there’s no need to avoid chocolate completely - dark and white chocolate contains virtually no caffeine, so these are fine if you fancy a treat.
Citrus fruit
The high levels of acid in citrus fruits, can lead to more visits to the bathroom. Try moving to less acidic fruits such as apples or melon.

The seemingly innocent tomato also contains high levels of acid. That means they’re best avoided if you want to reduce irritation. If your bladder is particularly prone to flare-ups, you may also want to avoid pasta, pizza sauces and ketchup.
Spices and spicy food
Turkey curry is a traditional Boxing Day meal for many, but it might not be a good idea. Obviously ‘spicy food’ covers a very wide range, and not everyone will be affected in the same way. Try experimenting by cutting out different spices and seeing which one yields the biggest result.
Processed foods
The high level of artificial ingredients in processed foods are the biggest problem. Try and eat as much freshly prepared food as possible which is a good thing for your health anyway.
Sorry party revellers, an is certainly exacerbated by alcohol, so you need to avoid it where possible, or at least try to cut down on your booze.
This covers both natural and artificial sweeteners, and both are known to cause problems with an overactive bladder. Again, it may be worth trying out different foods to see if reducing natural or artificial sweeteners has the greatest effect.
In particular, raw onions (if raw onions are your thing). Cooking the onions first means they will go much easier on your bladder. Your breath will also smell better.
Maybe try something else with your turkey. The acid in cranberries has the same effect as citrus fruit, so keep your spoonfuls to a minimum.
Stay hydrated
Make sure you keep your fluid intake (preferably water) steady, but managed. While you’ll want to drink less to prevent too many toilet visits, it’s not good to be dehydrated either. When the weather is colder, we tend to sweat a lot less, meaning that more fluid works its way through our bodies. This is a particular problem for those with an overactive bladder, so be watchful.
Christmas 2020 is likely to be different from those of previous years which may mean fewer parties full of tempting food and drink. But it is still possible to enjoy the season without the irritation. Stay moderate, stay watchful and above all, have a restful, fun holiday season.

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