5 Common Bladder Irritants
to Avoid This Holiday Season

Published 2019/12/20

Updated 2022/12/04

The holiday season is upon us! To keep both you and your bladder cheerful throughout the holidays, learn more about these 5 common bladder irritants. 

1. Alcohol, Caffeinated and
/or Carbonated Drinks

Wine, beer, coffee, Coca-Cola—all of your favorite drinks are unfortunately not your bladder’s favorites. Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics, which means they increase urine production by your kidneys. The increase in urine volume may strain your bladder if you’re already have bladder problems.

If you have urinary retention, this may mean you need to self-catheterize more often. If you have urinary frequency, urgency, and incontinence, these drinks may worsen your symptoms. 


If you have a sensitive bladder, or an overactive bladder, carbonated drinks can trigger the frequent urge to go. 



Bladder-friendly tip: just drink water! It is the healthiest drink of all! If the thought of drinking water all holiday season is unbearable to you, allow yourself to alternate between water and some of your favorite drinks. Remember, those tasty drinks are supposed to be occasional treats, not to make up your entire fluid intake.

2. Acidic Foods

Acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits can make your urine acidic, leading to bladder irritation and urgency. Some common citrus fruits include oranges, lemons, mandarins, and limes.

Moreover, study has found that urine more neutral than acidic is better at restricting bacterial growth. Excessive bacteria growth in retained urine can lead to bladder infections, which would definitely dampen the holiday fun.


Here are some more examples of foods to avoid as listed by Johns Hopkins Medicine

  • Apples and apple juice 
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cranberries and cranberry juice
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple
  • Plums 
  • Strawberries
  • Guava 
  • Diary: milk, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, and ice cream 

Bladder-friendly tip: many acidic foods are fruits, which are healthy for your body, so it’ll be unreasonable to cut them all out. Instead, cut all the unhealthy acidic foods such as ice cream. Have some fruits in moderation and stop at the first sign of bladder discomfort.

3. Chocolate

Hershey’s Kisses, fresh chocolate chip cookies, home-made brownies, hot chocolate with melted marshmallows—when the chill of winter comes around, chocolate can become an irresistible comfort food.

However, chocolate is acidic and contains caffeine, both of which can lead to discomfort for people with bladder problems. 


Bladder-friendly tip: swap dark chocolate and milk chocolate for white chocolate. But be mindful, the sugar in white chocolate is not good for you either.

4. Sugar

Both real sugar and artificial sweeteners are bad for your bladder. 


Sugar makes urine more acidic, which increases the risk of UTIs. Sugar also provides nutrients for the E. coli in your gut, a kind of bacteria that causes 75% to 95% of UTIs

Artificial sweeteners have been found to cause irritation for people with interstitial cystitis or chronic bladder inflammation. They also worsen symptoms of UTIs. 


During the holidays, sugar consumption tends to skyrocket. What makes matters worse is, sugary foods and drinks are often alcoholic, caffeinated, carbonated, and acidic. The combination can significantly irritate the bladder.


Bladder-friendly tip: cut down on sugar. Sugar is not just bad for your bladder, but also bad for your health in a myriad of ways

5. Spicy Foods

Super spicy food may be a thrill for your tastebuds, not for you bladder. Spicy foods can irritate the bladder lining and contribute to chronic bladder pain. 


Bladder-friendly tip: a little bit of spice makes for delicious food, a great deal of spice makes for irritated bladders.  

Looking at this list, you’re probably thinking “if I was to cut out all these foods and drinks, it would suck all the fun out of my holiday.”


Don’t worry, moderation is key. If you start to feel uncomfortable while enjoying the above-mentioned foods and drinks, you know it’s time to stop. A calm happy bladder is a clam happy you. 

Happy Holidays from CompactCath!

If you’re traveling this holiday and need travel intermittent catheters. CompactCath produces pocket-sized catheter that are touch-free and pre-lubricated with anti-bacterial silicone oil. 

Do you want to try our samples?