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Excuse me, can you tell me where the restroom is?

Do you have a constant urge to pee but nothing is coming out?

Have you ever thought, “I feel the urge to pee all the time, but when I go there’s never much there.” This is a very common symptom of pelvic floor dysfunction and can often be linked to the food and drink we ingest and tension in the pelvic floor.

Whenever we eat and drink, our body takes what it needs and gets rid of what it does not need. The mostly solid stuff leaves as poop, and the mostly liquid stuff leaves as pee. Pee, or urine, is what is left over after the kidneys have finished filtering our blood. The bladder stores urine until it leaves the body. Even though the urine has been filtered before reaching the bladder it may still contain irritants which cause urgency, frequency, or pain.

Common bladder irritants include:

  • Coffee and tea

  • Alcohol

  • Certain acidic fruits — oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes — and fruit juices

  • Spicy foods

  • Tomato-based products

  • Carbonated drinks

  • Chocolate

The easiest way to monitor your intake is by keeping a simple food diary (Bladder Diary.pdf). Write down everything you eat and drink and when your symptoms occur. If your symptoms include pain with urination, then write down every time you pee and note whether pain is present or not present. If your symptoms include increased frequency, make a note every time you pee or try to pee. You’ll be able to look back and see if you pee more often at certain times of the day or after drinking/eating certain foods. For example, coffee is a diuretic and may cause you to pee 2-3x in an hour. Even though coffee is a diuretic, which means it increases the amount of urine produced, your bladder should be able to fully fill and maintain a normal voiding pattern of every 2-4 hours.

You may find that you have pain after ingesting some or all of the things listed above or even with some things that are not on the list. I once had a patient who had bladder pain every time she ate baked potatoes. Our bladders don’t read the textbooks and don’t follow all the rules. I’m still not sure what was in that potato but when she stopped eating white potatoes she didn’t have urgency after meals.

If you’re struggling with urgency or frequency, keep track of your foods and symptoms, and you will have a better idea of how your bladder reacts to common irritants.

(Then come see a Pelvic Health Physical Therapist to efficiently resolve any remaining symptoms! 😉)

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