Sue's Blog

Urination issues and food intolerance


A reader asked Have other failsafers reported this problem?

At 73 I have been eating failsafe for more than 20 years. Last year, after recurrence of an eye problem from my 20s, I attempted to considerably increase my intake of non-failsafe but eye-friendly lutein and zeaxanthin (yellow plant pigments) by eating four non-failsafe foods I hadn't eaten before: kale (high in salicylates), honeydew melon (canteloupe, high in sals), goji berries (very high in sals and amines) and capsicum (bell pepper, very high in sals).

Within 24 hrs I had symptoms I had never experienced before: extreme pain on starting urinating, frequent night-time urination (nocturia) and constant prostate pain.

The doctor was mystified since I had never had any prostate issues at all, had no infection, and didn’t even have the enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia BPH common in men of my age) because as a vegan I do not follow the Western diet. After 72 hrs I stopped the four hi-sal foods. The pain disappeared completely within 24 hrs and has not recurred within the following 14 months. It seems likely to me that this incident was caused by excessive salicylates - Tom by email [1600]

What our male readers say

“I experienced very irritable and highly sensitive (not of the pleasant type) symptoms in my penis and testicles and surrounding areas. At times it was painful and made me feel like I did not have full bladder control. Urinating was uncomfortable, not unlike when you have a bladder infection. It had a negative effect on the bedroom activities too. Not pleasant"- from story [1317]. (The problem turned out to be solanine in green potatoes)

“In my case there was no pain, just a constant wrong signal - it was kind of like "there's fluid in your urethra and you need to hold it in/pee/do something" - not easily defined. Super annoying though. It was worst right after urinating. Fluid intake didn't seem to affect it, there was no burning sensation during urination or anything like that. When the symptoms were at their worst I had a bit of bladder leakage (like a few drops). Only once or twice though….Then I tried going strictly failsafe again for a few weeks. I didn't realise how much I had slipped up - turns out I've been eating a lot more amines than I realised. I also took a small amount of soda bicarb - half a tsp in a glass of water.  Both of these strategies were extremely effective! My symptoms are gone, and I feel much happier. :) “ - male, late 20s [1328]

What our female readers say (includes sons and a husband)

[1556] Urination issues and food intolerance – facebook thread (January 2020)

Does anyone have urine infection like symptoms after having salicylates... I don’t actually have a UTI (urinary tract infection), it just feels like it sometimes after having sals??? - Rose

"Yes! I get like an urgency to pee even when it's completely empty. Especially at night" - Alex

"Yes! But when I am careful and watch my SALS, the urgency and need lessens. Took me a while to figure it all out....I'm a slow learner. :)" - Clare

"It affects our 3yo in this way. He overflows nappies at night time & often wakes very distressed when he needs to pee overnight telling us it hurts" - Connie

"My 4.5 year old daughter has a problem with amines, she started wetting her pants at about 2.5 years old (after being dry and self toilet trained for 6 months), it got so bad we were up at the hospital at one point as she was urgently urinating every 30-45 mins for a few days, it was horrible" - Melinda see full story [1555]

"It’s very frustrating, I went to the doctors for a good 4 years and kept being turned away and told it was IBS in the end I thought I was going insane! – Jan

"Clear salicylates reaction here. When my dd started school (and had strawberries and watermelon in her lunch box) she started wetting her pants. Once going failsafe this stopped. She has now been failsafe for years and only has minor issues when filling her bucket. I discovered I was sals sensitive when I went low salicylate to support someone else then had 2 small slices of watermelon. I felt like I had a UTI and had to pee every 30 mins all day. I also stick to within my limits mostly - my bucket is bigger than my dds" - Tanya

"This is what happens to me but never turning into an actual UTI" - Helen

"After amines... frequency and urgency. Same for husband and 3yo" – Edith

"Yes, every time! Took me a while to figure it out. I get a burning sensation in my bladder, when I try to urinate, nothing happens!" - Robin

"When my son was very sensitive, one piece of carrot or using any toothpaste would make him wet the bed at night" – Anne

"Antioxidants were worst here" - Tracy

"I used to get that when I ate a diet high in sals. Don’t have a problem now I watch my sal intake strictly" - Jen

"Yes!!! Omg and my youngest all the time..... It's hell if we aren't strict" - Terry

"I’ve seen this a lot - an irritable bladder or interstitial cystitis" - dietitian

"Yep, three of us in this house react like that with sals (and certain flavour additives too)" – Amy

What the science says

It has been suggested that the Western diet itself can cause an enlarged prostrate, but that is different from prostatitis (see some references)

Prostatitis in men and urethral syndrome in women has been reported as 88% eliminated by a diet without caffeine, alcohol, and hot, spicy foods in 12 weeks. Success was ascribed to reducing “an inflammatory “allergic-like” reaction", in the absence of any knowledge of food intolerance or salicylates in foods.

More info

Stories about cystitis and food intolerance

[790] A case of cystitis-  OUCH
[791] UTIs, cystitis, interstitial cystitis (IC) and painful bladder syndrome (PBS)

Introduction to food intolerance