Frequent Trips to the Bathroom

Ask our CDE

Frequent Trips to the Bathroom

Dear Certified Diabetes Educator,

My name is Ellen and I have had trouble with rushing to the bathroom due to urinate frequently. I thought this was always a problem with having a high blood sugar.  I went to see my doctor.  She stated my blood sugar was under excellent control but I had a problem with urinary frequency and called my bladder overactive.  She said to keep away from bladder irritants. Can you tell more about some of the irritants she is talking about?



Dear Ellen,


Many times people suffer with this problem and do not ask about it.  I am so glad you went to see your physician as an increase in urinary frequency can mean your diabetes is not under control or it could be many other problems as well. Some medications cause people to urinate more frequently.  Make sure you continue to monitor your blood sugar to make sure it is in control. When a patient complains of urinary frequency, a physician will usually have them measure their urine every time they go to the bathroom and record the amounts.  It would be a good idea to also keep track of the foods and beverages that they are consuming during the same three to four days. Their doctor may offer exercises or medications to help as well. This is true especially if one is having accidents.  Normally people need to visit the bathroom to urinate between 6 and possibly up to 10 times per 24 hour day.

Common bladder irritants (causing one to feel like one needs to urinate) include:

Alcoholic and carbonated beverages

Caffeine containing beverages including coffee, tea, some sodas, energy drinks and chocolate

Food high in acid such as citrus fruits and juices, pineapple and tomato and cranberry products (Other fruits in large quantities may also bother you)

Spicy hot foods

Sugar, honey and many sugar substitutes (Some individuals find that Stevia does not irritate as much as others)

Raw onions 

Foods containing artificial preservatives

Make an appointment with your registered dietitian so she can look at your bladder diary and the foods you eat.  Together you can review the patterns of the foods and drinks you consume and see which foods are potentially irritating you.  At this point she may have you cut back or cut out certain foods and then possibly gradually increase them. Ask your dietitian to recommend substitutions for the foods you cannot have if possible.  Your dietitian can also see if your fluid consumption is normal or if this needs to be modified in some way. Thanks for asking a question that may benefit many other people as well!