Irritated?.... is your consumption of bladder irritants causing urge incontinence?

Updated: Jun 29, 2020

What are bladder irritants? how do they affect you? and should you avoid them?

In the simplest terms bladder irritants are foods or beverages that irritate the bladder. once irritated the bladder will DEMAND to be emptied.

While bladder irritants can potentially be as unique to individual as their finger prints, there are some common irritants that many of us consume regularly. These are; caffeine, carbonated drinks, alcohol, acidic foods and drinks, chocolate, and for some people spicy food.

While not every one will react to any or all of these if you have problems with urge incontinence (overactive bladder) it is worth exploring which (if any) foods and or beverages are an irritant to you.

As you can see many drinks will fit into more than one of these categories for example Cola is caffeinated, carbonated and acidic..... Prosecco is acidic and alcoholic, vodka and orange juice will be acidic and alcoholic...... if you then have a spicy curry and chocolate pudding on top of your Prosecco, a vodka and orange, and coffee (assuming you are sensitive to all of the above mentioned irritants) you could well end up with a pissed off bladder.

And it doesn't matter how well your pelvic floor is functioning consuming irritants will cause the bladder to want to empty..... NOW!!

So, does this mean you have to give up coffee for ever? not at all.

Although I think if you are having issues with urge incontinence (an overactive bladder) it is worth cutting out or reducing irritants while you reprogram your bladder/brain connection and strengthen your pelvic floor.

Once you have control of your your bladder then you can reincorporate them into your diet advisedly..... maybe reduce the amount you consume, or try diluting them. For example drink a glass of water alongside your coffee or your glass of wine.... you get the picture. This isn't a bad idea any way, as it will help you stay hydrated.

Also, watch when you are consuming them, Caffeine is a big irritant for me so I avoid drinking coffee before I take Pinky Binky (my dog) for a walk..... I have my large mug of coffee when I get home and am close to the toilet as I know coffee goes straight through me.

Remember my "8 to 12" rule?..... when your peeing, time your self and count the seconds. Your stream should last between 8 to 12 seconds (sometimes longer). If you usually manage to meet the "8 to 12" but occasionally have the urge to rush to the loo and subsequently fall short of this see if there is any common denominators. Is it when your out with girls drinking wine or during the Monday morning meetings when you are chugging coffee like its going out of fashion? Or when you have that LARGE Redbull to get you through the HIIT class?

Coffee is a funny one, while any kind of coffee sets me off, I speak to some people who are okay as long as they avoid instant.... while others are okay as long as the stick to instant and avoid filter so experiment and see what works for you.

At the end of the day you can do, and drink what you like.... I love my coffee and the occasional dash for the loo is totally worth my Nespresso cuppa. But if you are educated and understand what's going on then you can make informed decisions.


I am passionate about helping women with pelvic floor dysfunction wether that is incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse or chronic pelvic pain.

If you would like to work with me I do offer One-2-One training either Online or in Person I also have an online “Adore Your Pelvic Floor” course that will not only give you the practical skills to heal your body but the education and knowledge you need to feel empowered to make educated decisions for yourself so you are able to live your best life.

This course is split into two halves. The first is a comprehensive educational program that will give you a deep understanding of the anatomy of the pelvic floor, how it functions, what can go wrong and how to effectively train your pelvic floor.

This runs alongside a 16 week pelvic floor conditioning program that will take you from the basics of pelvic floor recruitment through to impact and loaded exercise…. in other words get you back to running, jumping, dancing and anything else you want to do so you can live your best life.

If you would like to work with me One-2-One

If you would like to access my Online Adore Your Pelvic Floor Course

If you would like to train to become an Adore Your Pelvic Floor Coach


This Blog is not meant to be used as a treatment programme. While I hope you find the information I have shared interesting it is based on what I have found useful in my teaching over the years and the best and most current research.

However, you should always seek the guidance of medical professionals in treating any condition. As a Pilates teacher I am not qualified to diagnose any condition. I would recommend seeking the advice of a good Physiotherapist or your General Practitioner. I would also recommend training with a Pilates Teacher who has completed a in depth training in the field. Pilates courses can vary vastly from short online or two day courses to three/four year in-depth full time apprenticeships. don’t be afraid to ask questions about your teachers training and experience. If you would like to train with me as a Pilates Teacher or as a Pelvic Floor Coach Or find an Adore Your Pelvic Floor programme in your area. Get in touch I'd Love 💗 to hear from you.

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