Your Seltzer Habit Could Be Causing Bladder Trouble. Here's Why

It's hard enough to get your daily 16 ounces of water in every day (via Healthline). If you've quit your soda habit and switched to seltzer, you're probably feeling pretty good about it — and you should! The increase in hydration and elimination of all those sugars and artificial sweeteners is not only a boost to your metabolism and energy, but the long-term health benefits are well documented. With benefits that range from reduced inflammation to elimination of sugar cravings to and improved gut health, no one would argue that swapping Coke for La Croix is a bad idea (via Bustle). Except maybe Alicia Jeffrey-Thomas, a pelvic floor physical therapist in Boston who's about to burst your proverbial carbonated beverage bubble (via Well and Good).

Jeffrey-Thomas posted an adorable little TikTok video that starts with her bopping along to some music, then BAM — she hits you with the message that sparkling water is a bladder irritant that "could be contributing to your bladder urgency/frequency." This could be a problem for a lot of people, considering 17% of women over 18 have an overactive bladder, and one in two women over 65 have stress urinary incontinence that only gets worse with age (via Depends and NAFC). If you find yourself having to rush to the bathroom more often when sipping on sparkling water, it might be time to switch, at least partially, to the flat stuff.

It's the carbon dioxide in seltzer that irritates your bladder

Caffeine, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, and anything highly acidic like orange juice are some of the most common bladder irritants (via Healthline). These beverages can cause a sudden urge to pee, and for people with sensitive bladders or overactive bladders they can be especially irritating. Sadly, the carbon dioxide in your favorite fizzy water is wreaking the same havoc on your system. In an interview with Well and Good, Austin DeRosa, a urologist and urologic oncologist in Colorado, explained, "The carbon dioxide in sparkling water tends to irritate the lining of the bladder. Carbonated beverages don't cause damage to your bladder per se, but they can cause an exacerbation of underlying bladder symptoms."

Well, at least drinking seltzer isn't doing any damage to your bladder, even if feeling like you have to go every five minutes is more than annoying. And if you really love the bubbles in your water, Alicia Jeffrey-Thomas says it's not something you have to give up entirely. In the same TikTok video, she recommends cutting back on the bubbles to just 25% of your fluid intake for the day and making the rest plain water. Dr. Derosa agrees that as long as you're getting your daily two or three liters of water a day, a little seltzer isn't going to be a problem for most people.