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OAB, overactive bladder by Madelaine Morrish, Registered Dietitian

 can irritate the bladder which causes the bladder to contract more

Overactive Bladder (OAB) is a condition in which an individual feels the sudden and strong urge to urinate frequently, which can results in nocturia (the need to urinate one or more times during sleeping hours) and urinary leakage. During urination, the brain signals the urethra and pelvic floor muscles to relax while the bladder muscle squeezes,pushing the urine out of the body. In OAB, the bladder muscle is overactive and squeezes too often. The bladder spasms that occur in OAB result in a sensation to urinate often and quickly, even if there is not much urine in the bladder. Making dietary changes and working with a pelvic floor physiotherapist can help manage symptoms.

Dietary management of OAB

Caffeine, found in coffee, certain teas, energy drinks, cola, and cocoa products, can irritate the bladder which causes the bladder to contract more, worsening OAB symptoms. To reduce the amount of caffeine you consume, you can switch to non-caffeinated fluids, like decaf coffee, hot or cold herbal teas, and water. If you would still like to include caffeinated coffee in your diet, aim to have no more than 2 cups per day (that's roughly 200 mg of caffeine/day day (that's roughly 200 mg of caffeine/day).

  1. Be mindful of your caffeine intake

  2. Plan out your fluid intake

  3. Keep a food and symptom journal

Everyone is individual. To find out what amount and types of foods impact your OAB symptoms, track your dietary intake and bladder symptoms in a journal either written or electronic. For example, other common foods that may worsen OAB symptoms, include alcohol, citrus fruit juices, and artificial sweeteners.

For nutrition advice you can trust contact us by:

Phone: 1-204-515-7466 E-mail:


Your body needs fluid to function properly. You may feel the need to over restrict the fluid you drink to manage your OAB symptoms. If you are drinking below 5 cups of fluids daily, your body will conserve fluid by producing less urine, resulting in concentrated urine that can further irritate your bladder. If you are not drinking enough fluid, your urine will be dark in colour and will have a strong odour; you may also experience constipation. To meet your fluid needs and manage your OAB symptoms:

  • Drink a moderate amount of non-caffeinated, non-carbonated fluid daily (5 to 6 cups per day) in small amounts throughout the day. Drinking more than 250 ml at one time can overwhelm the bladder.

  • Empty your bladder before going to sleep and avoid fluids 2-3 hours before bed to reduce frequent trips to the bathroom during the night and the risk of wetting the bed. and the risk of wetting the bed.

  • Empty your bladder before and after intercourse

  • Avoid caffeinated beverages in the evening

American Urogynecologic Society (2016) Overactive bladder. Retrieved from;The Canadian Continence Foundation. Tip for dealing with bladder control and leakage problems. Retrieved from


Resource developed by Madelaine Morrish, Registered Dietitian

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