An overactive bladder (OAB) can cause symptoms like urgency (having an uncontrollable urge to urinate), frequency (urinating too often, usually more than eight times a day), and leakage (urinating unintentionally after an uncontrollable and sudden urge). These symptoms have the ability to disrupt the normal functioning of your life and cause a lot of disturbance to you and to those who are close to you. The author in the article below suggests healthy ways to cope with the challenges of an overactive bladder (OAB) and warns you against some not healthy ways of coping you might attempt. Team RetyrSmart
Don’t let the challenges of an Over Active Bladder disrupt your golden years
- Healthy Coping
- Talk to loved ones: An overactive bladder isn’t the easiest topic to talk about, but vocalizing your struggle to family and friends can go a long way to help you decide whether further action is necessary.
Speak to a doctor: If your urge to repeatedly rush to the restroom is getting in the way of your routines, it may be time to bring it up at the next appointment with your physician.2 Your doctor can help you to try to minimize OAB’s impact and determine a treatment plan that may help.2,3
Make easy changes: Caffeine is a known diuretic (a substance that can make urination more frequent), and you may find that limiting caffeine can help with your OAB symptoms, such as frequency. While that extra cup of coffee might help you stay more alert at work, it may be counterproductive if you’re in the bathroom more often.
Things like fluid and caffeine intake, and whether you are dehydrated or drinking too much can make a big difference. Changing not only what you drink, but when, can also be helpful. Limiting fluids to earlier in the day or foregoing that last glass of water after dinner can help you have a more restful evening.5
Spicy foods and citrus fruits can be irritating to the bladder, and therefore you may consider avoiding them.
Track your bathroom visits: It’s difficult to remember how many times you’re feeling the need to use the restroom. This is where a bladder journal can help. Simply write down the times you use the bathroom, and other helpful information, such as the amount and quantity of fluids you consumed throughout the day, along with when you had them.
Bladder training exercises: Exercise can be another healthy way to help manage OAB symptoms, specifically strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. Bladder training exercises like kegels can strengthen the muscles along the pelvic floor that support the bladder.
Decreasing fluid intake: If drinking fluids makes you go, you may think it makes sense to just stop drinking, right? Drinking too little may lead to dehydration. Dehydration can cause many unwanted symptoms for your body, such as feeling faint or nauseated, and older adults are more at risk. If avoiding fluid intake becomes a regular practice in your life, not only can this increase your risk for long-term health concerns, but shows that you may be in an unhealthy cycle of coping with your OAB.
Becoming isolated: When you’re worried about having an accident while out with friends, it can be tempting to avoid going out altogether. Unfortunately, this unhealthy way of coping only leads to isolation and possibly depression.This method of coping can become a vicious cycle.
Skipping fun activities: Activities like going to the movies can feel impossible, if you know you’ll be spending more of the movie in the restroom than in the theater. Parties might feel like opportunities for major embarrassment — what will you do if the bathroom is full and you have an accident while waiting? It may seem easier— and less risky— to stay home, even if this is detrimental to your social life.
The Road to Actively Managing Overactive Bladder (OAB)begins with being proactive and assessing your coping behaviours an important step.