Treatment of Overactive Bladder
Having an overactive bladder, or OAB, causes urinary incontinence and isn’t only embarrassing and irritating, but an inconvenience! Here are some ideas for Treating Overactive Bladder:
Stay Hydrated With the Right Drinks
You need to stay hydrated, of course! You wouldn’t want to risk urinary tract infections or dehydration and having concentrated urine just to prevent bathroom visits.
But you have to make sure you’re staying hydrated with the RIGHT drinks. Here are bladder-friendly drinks to stock up on:
- Plain water or barley water
- Cranberry juice
- Less acidic fruit juices
- Caffeine-free teas
- Soy milk, which is less irritating compared to cow or goat milk
You may want to consider consuming pumpkin seeds or Kohki tea, which have antioxidants known to protect your bladder and improve abnormal urinary function. It may also reduce the symptoms of an overactive bladder.
Have a Healthier Diet
What you eat can also affect your bladder health, so I recommend that you bulk up on foods that can reduce constipation. This is because constipation may put extra pressure on the bladder.
Focus on consuming more fiber, which you can get from fruits and vegetables, beans, whole-wheat carbs, among other healthy food.
Avoid consuming spicy food, chocolate, artificial sweeteners, tomato-based food, as well as unhealthy drinks like alcohol, coffee, and soda.
You can test out food that irritates your bladder. Just eliminate all of them from your diet and reincorporate each food one by one every three days. Eliminate particular foods or drinks if you feel your symptoms worsen.
Lose Weight (Only If Needed)
If you are overweight or obese, the excess weight would increase pressure on your bladder, causing stress incontinence and frequent urination.
You can lose weight with a healthier diet and exercise, which I have mentioned in this article! Check with your doctor to see how much weight you'll need to lose, only if required. Consider if any other medical conditions might be the culprit as well.
Strength Training and Exercises
Kegel exercises, or pelvic floor exercises, are a great addition to your usual workouts. These will strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which minimize any involuntary contractions while improving posture. Performing such exercises is also a sage behavioral therapy that has NO side effects or complications.
When doing Kegel exercises, stop the urine mid-stream as you go. Also, focus on tightening your muscles with an empty bladder, holding the Kegel exercise poses every five seconds. Repeat the exercises at least ten times each and increase the times and repetitions as your muscles strengthen.
Furthermore, do NOT forget to breathe and do not squeeze your stomach, butt, or thighs as you perform the exercise. Contract and use your pelvic floor muscles only! You may want to check with a physical therapist first to ensure you are doing the right moves.
As for exercises beyond Kegels, I recommend to start strength training and to avoid strenuous, high-impact exercises that involve jumping or running. This can trigger OAB symptoms and even cause incontinence, or bladder leakage.
You can try to retrain your bladder muscles, which may help reboot them. With bladder retraining, you allow the urge to urinate pass before you head on to the bathroom.
Then, you slowly lengthen the holding times, usually delaying urination with smaller intervals and holding it off for five minutes. You can also schedule your bathroom trips, starting with 5-10 minute delays then work until it becomes 3-4 hours.
This procedure is best matched with Kegel exercises. I recommend that you have a journal to monitor the times you visit the bathroom.
6. Incontinence Underwear
These days, you can find many comfortable and discreet underwear which will keep you feeling dry and odor-free. They also prevent leaks from getting onto your outer layers!
If ever these remedies don’t work, you may need to get medical advice from your doctor for other medical remedies. If it is interfering with your overall health, your doctor will work with you to find the best treatment possible, which may be OAB medication or surgery.