sugar and incontinence

Pour A Little Sugar On

The holidays are here. Welcome to the season of awkward family photos and sugar filled delights like cranberry sauce and fudge.

While those sugary snacks sure are delicious, sugar and other sweeteners can irritate your bladder and lead to leaks. We’ve got the scoop on all things sweet and leaky.

It’s All The Same To Your Bladder

Going down the aisles at your grocery store, you’ll likely see a lot of different kinds of sweeteners. From “all natural” or “replacement” sugars to the kind of artificial sweeteners that have been around for decades.

As far as your bladder is concerned, there’s no difference between these sweeteners. Some studies even show that artificial sweeteners have a more negative impact on your bladder than natural sugars. Specifically we’re talking about sodium saccharin, acesulfame K, and aspartame (found in Diet Coke). When these and other sweeteners irritate your bladder, you’ll find yourself skipping to the loo more frequently.

UTIs & Sugar

UTIs are so common that they’re responsible for 10 million doctor’s visits per year. They can also cause bladder leaks. To make matters worse, did you know that sugar can speed up or even jumpstart a UTI?

This has to do with the bacteria that commonly causes bladder infections – E. Coli. No, getting a bladder infection doesn’t mean you need to throw out your spinach, we’re talking about your bladder here, not a food safety issue.

All bacteria need nutrients, and sugar is the one bacteria loves most. (Guess that means we have something in common with the little buggers). As you consume sugar, the acid level of your urine changes, making it easier for E. coli to multiply and spread quickly.

Limiting your sugary foods and beverages can help prevent UTIs and the dribble dilemmas that come with them.

Diabetes & Bladder Leaks

Women with diabetes have a 70% greater risk of developing urinary incontinence than those without diabetes. Symptoms can vary, but the need to empty one’s bladder is common, as are repeated trips to the bathroom at night.

Because diabetes is a result of insulin issues, excess sugar (aka “glucose”) can create problems. Extra glucose in your system can cause nerve damage, especially the nerves that control your bladder. Damaged nerves can cause decreased bladder sensation, making it hard to know when you need to go to the bathroom. Damaged nerves can also cause poor muscle control, making it hard to control the muscles around your bladder or your urethra. All of that is why leaks are common in folks with diabetes.

Mitigating the impact of diabetes on your bladder is a long game. It requires maintaining stable blood glucose levels and working with a great doctor. So, if you’ve got diabetes, make sure to get your doctor’s advice before digging into those holiday sweet treats.

Live Your Life

While we at Lily Bird want to share the impact that sugar has on your bladder, we want to emphasize that “swearing off sugar” or radical changes to your diet aren’t helpful either. It’s okay to eat sweet treats in moderation. We’ll meet you over by the cookie jar…

Ready to tell your bladder who’s boss? Lily Bird has you covered with pads and underwear for leaky laughs and dribble dilemmas, delivered right to your door. Start your trial today.