5 Ways to Help Manage Overactive Bladder

Bladder Health, Healthy Living, Overactive Bladder/Incontinence, Women's Health
on February 15, 2013

An overactive bladder occurs when there is a problem with the storage function in your bladder, leading to a sudden urge to urinate. The symptoms can vary considerably in severity, and even though sufferers may be able to get to a toilet in time without any accidents, an overactive bladder can be an inconvenient and embarrassing problem. If you are suffering from this condition, familiarize yourself with the following ways to help manage the problem without medication.

Fluid management. Many people who suffer from an overactive bladder believe that reducing their fluid intake will help ease the problem. In fact, according to the National Association for Continence, this can worsen the symptoms, as the urine becomes more concentrated and can irritate the bladder surface. If you suffer from an overactive bladder, it is best to drink water, possibly flavored with a slice of lemon for additional taste.

Pelvic muscle exercises. According to the Mayo Clinic, pelvic floor muscle exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, can strengthen the muscles and urinary sphincter. These muscles are critical for holding urine in the bladder. When strengthened, sufferers can often contract these muscles if they feel the urge to urinate, which can help control the symptoms. It can take from six to eight weeks of completing these exercises to notice any difference in symptoms.

Absorbent pads. Absorbent pads can be purchased in most major supermarkets and pharmacies and can help protect clothing and prevent embarrassment in the event of some incontinence. The use of pads can help users feel less conspicuous and can limit the effects of an overactive bladder on everyday activities.

Bladder retraining. According to the National Association for Continence, studies have shown that bladder retraining programs can offer benefits in preventing the symptoms of an overactive bladder. Bladder training can be conducted at home, without the need of a physician. As part of this, sufferers train themselves to manage increasingly longer enforced periods when they refrain from urinating, in order to train the bladder to respond in a different way.

Double voiding. A common problem with sufferers is that the bladder does not empty fully each time, leaving residual urine in the bladder. This can be prevented by double voiding, a practice that involves waiting a few minutes after urinating and then attempting to empty the bladder again. This can help prevent repeated, unmanaged trips to the bathroom.