Too much fluidDrinking too much fluid of any kind makes you urinate more often. If you drink too much over a short time, this can overwhelm your bladder and create a strong sense of urgency. If you exercise a lot or work outdoors regularly, you may need to drink more fluids.
Rather than drink a large amount all at once, try drinking smaller amounts throughout the day. For example, drink about two 8-ounce glasses (237 milliliters) at each meal and one 8-ounce glass between meals. That way, you'll end up at the recommended amount of roughly 8 cups (about 1.9 liters) of fluid daily.
If you have to get up several times at night to urinate, try drinking more of your fluids in the morning and afternoon, and eliminate alcohol and caffeinated beverages. Although water is best for your bladder, remember that fluids come from any beverage you drink and from foods such as soup.
Too little fluidDrinking too little fluid can lead to increased amounts of body waste products in your urine. Highly concentrated urine is dark yellow and has a strong smell. It can irritate your bladder, increasing the urge and frequency with which you need to go.
Bladder irritantsSome foods and beverages can irritate your bladder. Caffeine and alcohol both increase urine production. This can lead to increased frequency and urgency of urination. Caffeine can also cause bladder spasms.
Certain acidic fruits — oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes — and fruit juices, spicy foods, tomato-based products, carbonated drinks, artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, sugar, chocolate, coffee, and tea may irritate your bladder or make you leak urine. Why these items sometimes cause irritation isn't understood, and what causes bladder irritation may vary from person to person.
If caffeine or alcohol are regular parts of your diet, try eliminating them for about a week to see if your symptoms improve. Consider also avoiding foods that might be bladder irritants for about a week or so. Then gradually — every one to two days — add one food back into your diet, noting any changes in urinary urgency, frequency or incontinence.
You might not have to eliminate your favorite foods entirely. Simply cutting down on the amount might help, too.