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It's Time to Treat Overactive Bladder

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6 Mistakes People Make With Overactive Bladder

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Marijke Vroomen Durning, RN on October 25, 2022
  • senior-couple-dancing-in-living-room
    Living with Overactive Bladder
    Living with an overactive bladder (OAB) can be embarrassing and frustrating. It can cause a sudden, urgent and frequent need to urinate or even cause incontinence. People often suffer in silence. But overactive bladder affects about 33 million Americans, many of them women, so if you do have an overactive bladder, you’re not alone. There are ways to manage the condition, but you might be working against yourself without realizing it. Here are 6 mistakes some people with overactive bladder make.
  • middle-aged-woman-in-thought
    1. Thinking It’s an Inevitable Part of Aging
    It is true that getting older increases your risk of developing an overactive bladder or being incontinent, but it is not a normal part of aging. If you are experiencing OAB, just accepting it is the last thing you should do. There are many treatment options available that may help you, ranging from medications and treatment to lifestyle changes. Don’t just accept it. Seek treatment from your doctor.
  • Home Healthcare Nurse with Senior Adult Patient
    2. Keeping Silent
    Having an overactive bladder is nothing to be ashamed of and your healthcare provider can’t help you if he or she doesn’t know you have this problem. The more detailed you can be about your issues, the better. Does your bladder leak when you do certain activities? Do you find that you need to urinate more often than others? Do certain foods seem to make the urgency or discomfort worse? Discuss all these issues with your physician.
  • glass-of-water-on-table
    3. Cutting Down on Fluids
    Some people with overactive bladder cut down on the amount of fluids they drink in an effort to produce less urine. But when you don’t drink enough fluid, the urine you do produce may be quite concentrated and irritate your bladder and urethra even more. Ask your doctor or nurse practitioner how much fluid you should consume in a day.
  • two-women-arching-backs-on-exercise-mat
    4. Not Doing Kegel Exercises, or Doing Them improperly
    Kegel exercises, pelvic floor exercises, can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and urinary sphincter. But to be effective, they must be done properly and regularly. Speak to your doctor or nurse practitioner, or even a physical therapist, who can help you learn the right technique and tell you how often you should do them. The results may not show for several weeks, and it may be tempting to give up on them — but make it a daily habit and you’ll feel the results.
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  • writing-in-diary
    5. Not Keeping a Food Diary
    Some foods and liquids can irritate your bladder and make the symptoms of OAB worse. Some of the common culprits are caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and citrus. By keeping a food diary, you may be able to detect if some of your diet is contributing to the problem.
  • Female hands hold pill and glass of water
    6. Avoiding Medications or Treatments
    There are medications (pills and patches) and other treatments that help many people living with overactive bladder. Some people are reluctant to take drugs for an issue they don’t see as being a medical problem. But having an overactive bladder is a medical condition and it can have a significant effect on your quality of life. So speak with your healthcare provider to see if there are treatment options available to you.
6 Mistakes People Make With Overactive Bladder
  1. Diagnosis and Management of Overactive Bladder. Association of Reproductive Health Professionals.
  2. Overactive bladder. Mayo Clinic.
  3. What is OAB and who gets it? Urology Care Foundation.
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Last Review Date: 2022 Oct 25
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.