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Written by

Kate Dyson


Kate is a content specialist who is passionate about women's health. She's also mum to three kids, two dogs and unsurprisingly, a lover of wine.

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For words you might want to know more

Diuretic Effect

The diuretic effect refers to the property of a substance, such as alcohol, to increase the production of urine by inhibiting the release of the antidiuretic hormone (ADH).

Bladder Irritation

Bladder irritation occurs when substances like carbonation and certain botanical ingredients in drinks cause discomfort and increase the urgency to urinate.

Artificial Sweeteners

Sugar substitutes like aspartame and saccharin, often found in processed foods, which can irritate the bladder lining and exacerbate symptoms of urgency and incontinence.

Does a G&T cause the need to urgently pee?

For many of us, a gin and tonic over ice is the drink of our summer and something we enjoy without second thought. That is, until we find ourselves running for the loo after, and wondering if the urge to pee we experience could possibly be connected to our favourite summer tipple.

So, can a G&T send you running for the loo - and what should you drink instead if it does?

How does alcohol affect the bladder?

First of all, it's essential to understand that alcohol itself is a diuretic. Diuretics are substances that promote the production of urine. When you consume alcohol, it inhibits the release of vasopressin, also known as the antidiuretic hormone (ADH). ADH is responsible for signalling your kidneys to reabsorb water, preventing it from being lost in urine. With less ADH in your system, your kidneys produce more urine, leading to more frequent trips to the bathroom.

Do sparkling drinks make it worse?

Another factor contributing to the urge incontinence associated with a gin and tonic is the carbonation from tonic water. Carbonated beverages, including sodas and sparkling water, can increase bladder pressure and irritation. The carbon dioxide in these drinks forms bubbles, which can distend the bladder and cause a sensation of fullness and urgency.

Surely the botanicals are good for you?

While we love the power of many botanicals, those that are used to infuse gin - such as citrus, coriander, orange peel and juniper berries - and give that unique flavour can irritate the bladder. For example, juniper berries, a primary ingredient in gin, have diuretic properties. This diuretic effect is compounded when mixed with alcohol, leading to even more urine production.

When you combine the diuretic properties of alcohol, the bladder-irritating effects of carbonation, and the potential irritation from gin’s botanicals, it becomes clear why a gin and tonic might have you running for the loo. For individuals with sensitive bladders, overactive bladder syndrome, or incontinence, this combination can be particularly troublesome.

So what can you drink instead?

If you experience bladder urgency or incontinence and still want to enjoy an alcoholic beverage, there are alternatives to gin and tonic that might be gentler on your bladder. Generally speaking, looking for low-alcohol options will help manage bladder leaks and trickles better than higher ABV options, such as wine and distilled spirits but of course, the best thing to do is avoid alcohol altogether.

Most pubs and restaurants now have a better selection of low and no alcohol choices, so why not try asking for them to make you something delicious mixed with either pear juice, or cranberry that are great for your bladder?

Here's our 4 quick tips to help you balance your bladder needs and alcohol

Let's face it, life isn't perfect and if you do enjoy a drink or two in the sun then here's some tips to help you get a better balance for your bladder health:

1. Alternate drinks with water

Drinking water alongside your alcoholic beverage can help dilute the alcohol and reduce its diuretic effect. Staying hydrated can also help prevent bladder irritation and maintain overall urinary health.

2. Pace Yourself

Consuming alcohol slowly and in moderation can minimise the sudden spike in urine production that often accompanies rapid drinking. Sipping your drink slowly allows your body more time to process the alcohol.

3. Avoid Trigger Foods

Certain foods and drinks can exacerbate bladder irritation when combined with alcohol. Spicy foods, caffeine, and citrus fruits are common culprits. By avoiding these triggers, you can help reduce bladder irritation.

4. Monitor Your Intake

Keeping track of how much alcohol you consume can help you identify patterns and triggers related to bladder urgency. If you are at party, be careful of host topping up your glass - it's an easy way to lose track of what you are drinking!

Jude’s clinically proven supplements give you better bladder and pelvic floor control, helping you sleep through the night and regain the freedom to live life on your own terms. With just one capsule morning and night, you'll have relief from need-to-go urgency in just 12 weeks.

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