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It's Time to Treat Overactive Bladder

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7 Hints for Better Bladder Control

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Amy Rushlow on July 2, 2021
  • Young, free and wild
    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.
  • Avoid Trigger Foods
    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.
  • Glass of soda
    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.
  • Abstain from Alcohol
    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.
  • Close-up of woman putting feminine liner or pad in black purse
    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.
  • Public Restroom Sign
    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.
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  • Stick to a Schedule
    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.
  • Young African American woman dining at restaurant smiling
    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.
7 Hints for Better Bladder Control

About The Author

  1. What I Need to Know About Bladder Control for Women, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
  2. Traveling with IBD, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America
  3. Travelling with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada
  4. Overactive Bladder FAQs, Cystitis and Overactive Bladder Foundation
  5. Lifestyle and Behavioral Changes: Improving Urinary Urgency, Frequency, and Urge Incontinence, American Urogynecologic Society
  6. Find a Bathroom, National Association for Continence
  7. Urgency Incontinence, National Association for Continence
  8. Overactive Bladder Treatment – NAFC Overactive Bladder Treatment, National Association for Continence
  9. Urinary Incontinence, National Institute on Aging
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Last Review Date: 2021 Jul 2
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