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Why your bladder (still) hates pumpkin spice lattes

As Autumn approaches, I long for my favorite season: A warm bulky sweater, crisp, cool air and of course, a Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL). This was my favorite time of year until I moved to Los Angeles, said goodbye to changing seasons, and learned a thing or two about bladder health.

Starbucks is currently advertising the addition of “real pumpkin” to their PSL’s after receiving a lot of backlash last year due to the high amount of artificial ingredients listed in the popular drink. However, do not be fooled! Pumpkin Spice Lattes are still considered a bladder irritant. Bladder irritants can lead to urinary tract infections, stress incontinence, overactive bladder syndrome and can flare up interstitial cystitis. Here is a modified list of common bladder irritants.

Bladder Irritants

  1. Alcohol
  2. Carbonated water
  3. Sugar
  4. Soda
  5. Bread
  6. Artificial sweeteners
  7. Citrus juices
  8. Canned soups
  9. Smoked meats
  10. Caffeine
  11. Aged cheeseSulfites

According to Starbucks, a 16 ounce PSL contains 50g sugar, 40% of your daily intake of saturated fat and 22% of your daily intake of fat. Not only is a PSL an unhealthy choice but it also contains 5 bladder irritants: caffeine, citric acid, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and sulfites.

What do bladder irritants actually do to my bladder?

Bladder irritants can damage or irritate the inner wall of the bladder causing a series of reactions which leads to elevated histamine release triggering an inflammatory response. Foods that are either high in acid or alkaline can cause a similar response. Also of importance is the stimulatory effect that caffeine has on the bladder. If caffeine is consumed in excess, it will stimulate excessive urination. Over time, this can lead to overactive bladder syndrome.

In closing, bladder irritants may or may not be causing you uncomfortable symptoms now, but they most certainly will if you make them part of your daily diet!

Put down the Pumpkin Spice Latte, your bladder will thank you in the long run.

-Dr. Betsey Stec PT, DPT

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram to keep your pelvic floor happy!

References:

  1. Burgio, K. L., Newman, D. K., Rosenberg, M. T., & Sampselle, C. (2013). Impact of behaviour and lifestyle on bladder health. International journal of clinical practice, 67(6), 495-504.

  2. IC Food Lists. Accessed September 14, 2016 at : http://www.ic-network.com/patient-Burgio, K. L., Newman, D. K., Rosenberg, M. T., & Sampselle, C. (2013). Impact of behaviour and lifestyle on bladder health. International journal of clinical practice, 67(6), 495-504.resources/diet/the-ic-food-lists/

  3. ICN Food List (2012) Accessed September 14, 2016 at: http://ic-network.com/downloads/2012icnfoodlist.pdf

  4. Pumpkin Spice Latte Ingredients. Accessed September 14, 2016 at: http://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/espresso/pumpkin-spice-latte
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