What Causes Bladder Irritation When I Drink Soda?

Glass of cola with ice on wooden table
A mason mug filled with soda. (Image: punsayaporn/iStock/Getty Images)

Soda can cause bladder irritation because it contains caffeine. All caffeinated products, and even some decaffeinated products, can cause bladder irritation. Bladder irritation can lead to chronic bladder infections and incontinence, or difficulty urinating. If you suffer from bladder irritation, it may not necessarily be caused by diet, but other items that are sometimes used for personal hygiene care. Talk to your doctor to determine the exact cause of bladder irritation before treating the situation.

Caffeine

Caffeine acts like a diuretic, which causes your bladder to fill more quickly than other beverages, according to WomensHealth.gov. The quicker your bladder fills, the more you will have to urinate. This can irritate your bladder because of the excess stimulation that it’s not accustomed to. Since caffeine causes your bladder to fill quickly, it can also cause bladder leakage. The Mayo Clinic names caffeine specifically as a bladder irritant.

Sweeteners

Soda, candy and other foods, such as desserts, use artificial sweeteners like corn syrup and even table sugar. Sugar and corn syrup, among other artificial sweeteners, can also irritate the bladder, according to MayoClinic.com. These items can also contribute to bladder leakage because they stimulate the bladder. The Mayo Clinic notes that it isn’t clearly understood why these items cause bladder irritation and also states that bladder irritation can vary from one person to the next.

Carbonation

Soda is typically a carbonated beverage whether you purchase it in a bottle or from a fountain machine. Carbonated products, such as soda, are another bladder irritant, according to MayoClinic.com. It’s not clear why carbonated drinks cause bladder irritation, but the Mayo Clinic does list carbonated soda as one of many possible bladder irritants. It’s best to avoid carbonated drinks whenever possible until you find out exactly what causes your bladder to become irritated.

Considerations

Soda contains three different types of bladder irritants: caffeine, sweeteners and carbonation. Avoiding soda can help reduce possible bladder irritation and may even decrease bladder leakage and help alleviate other urination symptoms associated with incontinence and chronic bladder infections. Other beverages, such as tea—caffeinated and decaffeinated—and acidic juices such as tomato juice and grapefruit juice can have a similar effect on your bladder. Your doctor can help identify which area of your diet could be contributing to your symptoms to help avoid future problems.

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