Dining out? 3 Menu Tips for Managing Light Bladder Leakage

I love going out to dinner. Though, it’s not always easy to eat sensibly without feeling a bit deprived. I blame the menus. Instead of featuring beautiful photos of healthy (but delicious!) steamed fish and broccoli, we’re bombarded with glossy images of crispy onion rings and luscious chocolate cake. When you’re dealing with LBL, choosing bladder-friendly foods makes dining out even trickier. If you’ve ever grappled over food choices, the following tips will help you navigate your way around any menu.

Tip 1: Choose foods that will make you feel great AFTER the meal.
For many of us, dining out is a form of entertainment. We first ask ourselves, “What will taste good?” or “What am I in the mood for?”. Then, we get to treat ourselves by selecting a variety of fun flavor experiences – appetizers, drinks, soup, salad, bread with butter, and a fabulous entrée. And hungry or not, we’ve got to have that raspberry cheesecake. Overeating puts added pressure on the bladder and leads to weight gain, which makes leakage worse. So when you dine out, go for meals that satisfy your appetite — and keeps your leaks in check. Instead of focusing on how good it feels to order ANYTHING you want, focus your attention on how you can order anything you want that will leave you feeling good AFTER the meal ends. That simple shift in focus will help you enjoy a great meal out without unwelcome side effects.

Tip 2: Steer clear of trigger foods.
Certain foods and drinks can aggravate an overactive bladder, making leaks worse. Since every woman’s body is different, only you can determine what your trigger foods might be. One woman may eat an entire tomato without a problem, while one small slice can send another woman’s bladder into spasms causing leaks. Some typical foods and drinks that may cause urinary incontinence include citrus fruits, spicy, fried, or acidic foods, chocolate, sugar and artificial sweeteners, carbonated and caffeinated drinks, and alcohol. Experiment by eliminating one type of trigger food at a time to discover which foods cause your bladder to go into overdrive. It’s much easier to select a delicious bladder-friendly meal off the menu when you’ve done your homework and know how your body reacts to certain foods and varying amounts. As you make your menu selections, find alternatives for the foods that are problematic for you.

Tip 3: Ask for a glass of water.

You might be thinking, “Marilyn, I don’t want to give up my glass of wine with dinner. Is there anything else I can do?”. There is — drink water! Many women think soda, coffee, or wine counts as a hydrating fluid. It’s not. When you drink something like that, sip water along with it. Without water in your system, urine becomes concentrated and can irritate your bladder. Drinking too little water or even too much may bring on light bladder leakage. Not every woman needs eight full glasses of water every day. Your size and activity level will dictate what amount is just right for you.

Don’t let LBL keep you from enjoying a meal out every once in a while. Making these little changes can make a big difference in helping curb your appetite…and your leaks.

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