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Foods That Trigger Bladder Spasms

By R. Y. Langham, Ph.D. ; Updated August 14, 2017

Bladder spasms occur when your bladder muscles involuntarily contract, resulting in an uncontrollable urge to urinate before your bladder is completely full. Chronic bladder spasms can lead to urge incontinence, a condition that arises when urination is delayed and varying amounts of urine are forced out of your bladder. The cause varies from person to person, but food irritations, neurological diseases, surgery, infections and catheter insertion may contribute to this condition, according to R.A.S. Hemat, author of “Urotext-Luts: Urology.” Symptoms may include urinary urgency, frequent urination and urine leakage. Knowing which foods trigger bladder spasms can help you prevent future flareups.

Coffee

If you are prone to bladder spasms, limit or avoid coffee because it can irritate your bladder. Most coffees have some amount of caffeine, a natural stimulant and diuretic that can cause you to urinate frequently. According to Tori Hudson, author of the book “Women's Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine: Alternative Therapies and Integrative Medicine for Total Health and Wellness,” frequent urination can aggravate your bladder and cause bladder spasms, especially in people who have bladder problems such as urge incontinence. Hudson further states that coffee contains acid, which can concentrate your urine and cause a burning sensation when you urinate. Other foods and drinks that contain high levels of caffeine include black tea, chocolate and cola.

Sugar

Consuming sugary foods and beverages can irritate your bladder and cause bladder spasms. According to Molly Siple and Deborah Gordon, authors of the book “Menopause the Natural Way: The Women's Natural Health Series,” foods that contain some form of sugar, such as corn syrup, sucrose, molasses and honey, can irritate your bladder if you are prone to bladder problems. The authors further state that large amounts of sugar can encourage an overgrowth of yeast in your body, which can lead to bladder infections and bladder spasms. Avoid doughnuts, pastries, cakes, cupcakes, ice cream, candy, hot chocolate, granulated white sugar, maple syrup and soft drinks.

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Spicy Foods

Use caution when eating spicy foods because they can aggravate your bladder and cause bladder spasms. According to Judith Buttris, author of the book “Adverse Reactions to Food: The Report of a British Nutrition Foundation Task Force,” spicy foods can irritate your bladder, trigger an involuntary contraction of your bladder muscles and intensify bladder spasms, especially if you suffer from interstitial cystitis, a chronic bladder condition that causes pressure, pain and a burning sensation in your bladder or pelvis. Spicy foods that may cause bladder spasms include onions, chili peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic and cayenne peppers.

Citrus Fruits

Snacking on citrus fruits can cause bladder spasms. Citrus fruits are loaded with citric acid, a type of acid that can irritate the lining of the bladder and trigger bladder spasms in people who are prone to chronic bladder infections, according to Robert A. Anderson, author of the book “Clinician's Guide to Holistic Medicine.” Foods high in citric acid include lemons, limes, grapefruits, tangerines, fruit punch, cranberries, tomatoes and oranges.

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