Q. I was diagnosed with an overactive bladder six months ago. The urologist prescribed VESIcare and handed me a pamphlet on the main offenders that cause the symptoms.
After reading it, I eliminated caffeine, chocolate and alcohol from my diet. Voila, I make no more nightly visits to the bathroom. As an added benefit, I no longer need any medication for reflux. Sometimes giving up something that is harmful to health is better and less expensive than taking medicine.

A. Not everyone will get as much benefit from the kind of changes you made, but this is a low-risk approach. Chocolate, caffeine and alcohol have all been implicated as possible culprits in triggering reflux.

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  1. nancyp143

    My primary sent me to an OBGYN for overactive bladder – the OBGYN wants me to go for a transabdominal/transvaginal ultrasound (after a total hysterectomy 9 years ago) and later will probably prescribe Vesicare. I do NOT want to take a drug for this – the early tests at the Dr. showed normal residual urine. Nor do I want surgery. I’m not finding a lot on here about Vesicare, but I see some good tips above which I have and will work with. My point here is, I have insurance so all these tests (sort of humiliating) are lined up – and then put me on what is probably an expensive drug with side effects? gosh. Don’t think so.

  2. pa

    Dear dp. I would like to try to use cranberry juice for overactive bladder per your advice. But you are saying not to buy it from grocery store? Where do you buy cranberry juice that works for overactive bladder? What kind of cranberry juice do you buy and in what proportion you dilute it with water? How much do you drink and for how how long to see the difference? Thank you.

  3. dp

    Frequent urination was a problem when I took HCT and stopped after I stopped taking this diuretic 5 years ago. But then it began again. I thought this must be a urinary tract infection and began drinking concentrated cranberry juice diluted with water as per directions. Within a day the frequency and urgency stopped. Now when it happens, I take the concentrated cranberry juice diluted as directed right away.
    This never fails to arrest the urinary infection. However, if one waits too long to use this natural bladder disinfectant, the infection can get much worse and ultimately lead to a kidney infection. If one doesn’t see results after using the strong cranberry (not grocery store juice), one should see their Dr.
    Older women are prone to getting mild urinary tract infections to to the change in our external anatomy.i.e. prolapsed bladders. Cranberry juice beats surgery or antibiotics or worse medication for “over active bladder” when the cause is infection.

  4. ebm

    Dairy seems to be a trigger for many ails. Years ago I had many food allergies and
    sensitivities, mostly traced to yeast overgrowth after antibiotics and no knowledge of
    probiotics by docs. I eliminated especially dairy, choc., bread etc. While at a friend’s, I was tempted with a Haagen Daaz choc. ice cream bar two days in a row and for
    the first time ever, had a bladder infection and postponed a flight home.
    Now, 25 yrs later I get by with incorporating a lot of the trigger foods but when I eat ice cream several days in a row, I had another bladder irritation and was given meds. Now I know when to quit and recognize a cold symptom down there. FOODS ARE CULPRITS!

  5. F.M.

    About 1 year ago I had prostrate surgery on an enlarged prostrate, and had a problem with urgency after the surgery. The Drs. said that I had an overactive bladder that got worse after the surgery, and I tried different medicine to help it, them all of a sudden I had a problem with incontinence. I had to wear adult diapers and a external catheter.
    The urologist wanted me to try a clinical trial of botox injections, or a bladder stimulator, but my wife didn’t want me to try these because she was afraid it might get worse. Then after about 6 months of incontinence I started to run a fever of over 103, so I went to the emergency room, and they found I had a infection in my blood an urine, and they gave me antibiotics, and in a few days my incontinence stopped. My Drs. never thought to check my blood. I am now cured.

  6. CAB

    As someone living on a VERY low-carb diet, I beg to differ. Seems to me the beef industry, the chicken industry, the pork industry, and yes, even the commercial fishing industry might have a big stake (no pun intended) in promoting a low-carb diet!
    All that aside, I too am reluctant to give up the mental sharpness conferred by my cup or two of coffee in the morning. And haven’t some studies shown there are significant health benefits from coffee drinking? and ditto for chocolate?

  7. Rocket Scientist

    If I’d given up alcohol, caffeine, and chocolate with success, I believe I’d add them back one at a time to see if all three were to blame.
    I just started trying acupressure. I’ll report back if it makes a difference.

  8. Gin

    You are on to something – DIET – I have many food sensitives. A few months ago I started needing to pee every few minutes. Because of the food issues I realized any milk product triggers it. So again many physical problems are because of diet. Doctors just don’t seem to get it!

  9. JMA

    I also find carbonated drinks to add to the problem. The note about caffeine is true, but I am not willing to give up the ‘awakened brain’ I get from my 2 cups each morning. On the other hand, I have not found any ‘bladder control’ med that does not cause severe brain ‘fogginess’ after a few weeks. I very much look forward to any good cures for this problem.

  10. Rocket Scientist

    I’d like to be copied on comments on this topic.

  11. Karen

    The biggest shift in bladder problems has been giving up refined carbohydrates. Sugar is a huge trigger for stress incontinence, but there’s no money in promoting a low-carb diet.

  12. Ross

    I used to drink about 4 0r 5 large mugs of coffee a day + a mug of tea after supper. After missing my morning coffee, noticed I didn’t have to urinate, so on days when going out ‘no coffee’. Decided that I would stop all coffee and tea. My problem disappeared.
    As a a side issue I have had Diarrhea steadily every day for about 4 years. the Doctor said not to worry as long as no blood shows. After stopping all coffee and tea the diarrhea also went away. I don’t understand, but it works for me.

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