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Foods & Chemicals That Irritate the Bladder

author image Sara Ipatenco
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.
Foods & Chemicals That Irritate the Bladder
A glass of soda on a counter. Photo Credit: amnachphoto/iStock/Getty Images

Bladder irritation can occur for any number of reasons, including health conditions such as interstitial cystitis, infection or bladder stones. Certain foods can exacerbate the symptoms of problems causing bladder irritation or can lead to irritation all on their own. Bladder irritation can make you feel like you need to urinate more often or can cause pain and discomfort. Food irritants can vary from person to person, but avoiding the most common bladder irritating foods can help relieve symptoms. Always make an appointment with your doctor if you have bladder irritation to determine necessary treatments, as well as to help you design a diet plan that meets your nutritional needs.

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Caffeinated and Carbonated Drinks

Caffeine is a common bladder irritant, although it doesn't have a negative effect for everyone. Coffee, tea and soda are among the top sources of caffeine in the average person's diet, and avoiding them can ease symptoms of bladder irritation. Chocolate, which contains caffeine, is another trigger for bladder irritation, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Carbonated beverages, including sodas without caffeine and carbonated water, can also be irritating.

Alcoholic and Acidic Beverages

While some people with bladder irritation can tolerate alcohol when used for cooking purposes, avoiding all alcoholic drinks -- including beer, champagne and hard liquor -- can help ease symptoms. Acidic beverages, such as apple, cranberry and citrus juices, can also contribute to bladder irritation. Citric acid can be irritating, according to the University of Pennsylvania Abramson Cancer Center, so avoid fruit-flavored juices, such as lemonade. These tend to be high in added sugars, too, which aren't good for your overall health and can lead to further irritation.

Acidic and Diuretic Fruits and Vegetables

Acidic fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, lemons, limes, pineapple, strawberries and tomatoes, can irritate the bladder, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Tomato products, such as soup, sauce or paste, can also cause irritation. Fruits and vegetables that act as diuretics -- including cantaloupe, watermelon, asparagus and cucumbers -- can lead to bladder discomfort, according to the Loma Linda Health website. Fava and lima beans may act as irritants, as well. Speak with your doctor about appropriate fruits and vegetables for your diet. They supply many of the necessary vitamins and minerals you need for good health, so make them an essential part of your eating plan.

Sweet, Salty and Spicy Foods

Foods that contain artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and saccharin, can be irritating. Avoid diet sodas, some low-calorie energy drinks and low-calorie desserts that contain artificial sweeteners. Fruit-flavored and artificially sweetened yogurts can also irritate. Cut down on salty foods, such as pickled foods, soy sauce and rye bread, to ease irritation. Some people experience bladder irritation when they eat processed meats that contain sodium nitrates and nitrites. These include corned beef, hot dogs and deli meats. Aged cheeses can have similar effects, as can foods that contain monosodium glutamate, such as Chinese foods, processed meats like sausage and cheese-flavored snacks. Spicy foods, such as hot peppers, salsa, Mexican food and curries, can also be irritating.

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