7 Hints for Better Bladder Control
- Live life to the fullest.Work, family, friends. Exercising, volunteering, traveling. You've got a life to live, and overactive bladder doesn't have to slow you down. Here's how to manage this condition every day so you can focus on moving ahead—not making your next pit stop.
- 1. Avoid trigger foods.When you have overactive bladder, what you eat matters. Some people find that spicy foods, chocolate, or citrus fruits can trigger bladder symptoms.
- 2. Cut the caffeine and artificial sweeteners.The same goes for beverages. Citrus juices and drinks with caffeine or artificial sweeteners, like coffee and diet sodas, may make you need to urinate suddenly.
- 3. Abstain from alcohol.Opt for nonalcoholic beverages. Alcohol stimulates the bladder, which makes you urinate more frequently. Choose water, apple cider, or cranberry juice instead.
- 4. Use absorbent pads and undergarments.Whether you're at a work meeting, a party, or your child's soccer game, don't worry about the embarrassment of a leak. Consider absorbent pads or undergarments made especially for incontinence. Sanitary pads work, too, but aren't as effective.
- 5. Plan ahead before hitting the road.If you're taking a car trip, stick to well-traveled roads. They're more likely to have restrooms along the way. You can plan for pit stops before you leave; for example, Sit or Squat lets you search for public restrooms. Print out the map and bring it along, or access it via your mobile phone. If you're traveling by plane, book early and reserve an aisle seat near the lavatory.
- 6. Stick to a schedule.To help prevent accidents, doctors recommend a practice called timed voiding or bladder retraining. To do it, urinate at timed intervals—every hour, for example—whether you feel like you have to go or not.
- 7. Freeze and squeeze.If an urge hits and you can't make it to the restroom, "freeze and squeeze." Sit down if you can. Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles quickly three to five times. (No one will be able to tell you're doing it.) Walk to the restroom once the urge is under control.