Usually being overactive is a good thing, but not when it comes to your bladder. If you’ve got an overactive bladder (OAB), then you know how disruptive it can be to your life, especially your sex life. So how often do you need to pee to be diagnosed with an overactive bladder? At least eight or more times a day, including two or more times during the night and there are 3 main symptoms that you’ll experience:Urgency, Frequency and/or Leakage. Urinary incontinence is the clinical term for leaking or wetting accidents.
Living with OAB can definitely put a strain on your life so that you don’t enjoy going on vacations, attending social events and end up avoiding intimate moments that may result in inhibitions and lack of desire. Make sure you let your partner know that your embarrassment and lack of desire isn’t their fault and educate them about OAB by letting them know that approximately 33 million men and women are affected, but they can also be successfully treated.
You don’t have to accept that an overactive bladder as an inevitable part of aging because there are options and solutions to help you manage and treat this condition. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and choose the right method for you and your lifestyle.
Stress Reduction: When your stress is high, it can affect the entire body and result in many health problems that include OAB. So if your anxiety is causing you to urinate too often, decrease your daily stress level by changing a stressful activity and replacing it or taking deep breaths when you feel anxious, listen to relaxing music, meditate when you can, do yoga or get a massage. Changes to your lifestyle and habits may help you better manage your OAB symptoms.
Diet Modification: Certain foods and drinks containing caffeine, alcohol, citrus and spices are known to irritate the bladder. So, avoid oranges, grapefruits, lemons and pineapple. Chocolate is a no no, but if you must have it, then eat dark chocolate with more than 70 percent cocoa. Cut down on spicy foods that are made with hot peppers or tomato sauces. No sugar or dairy products. Do eat black foods such as black rice, beans, pasta and blueberries as they are high in antioxidants and fiber. Do continue to drink fluids because you don’t want to become dehydrated and worsen the bladder irritation.
Constipation Prevention: Constipation can cause direct pressure on the bladder when your diet is lacking in fiber, wholegrain, vegetables and water. Avoid foods that can cause constipation such as bananas, chocolate, tea and white rice. Also, be sure to do exercises like walking or swimming, stretching or yoga to help loosen the colon. Alternatively, you may use mild stool softeners or laxatives that you can buy over the counter such as, Glycerin suppositories, Dulcolax® or Milk of Magnesia® for gentle and effective relief from constipation, but do not overuse laxatives for any length of time as they can aggravate your symptoms.
Bladder Training: This can help change the frequency of urination by scheduling set times of the day to go to the bathroom. That means controlling the urge to go by waiting until the set time or going as close to the time as you can. This technique can teach you how to gradually control the urge to urinate so that you don’t go as often as you did. You can also schedule social and intimate time more confidently using the bladder training technique.
Bladder Retraining: Includes Kegel exercises, which have been proven to strengthen and tone the genital support muscles. You squeeze and hold the muscles that you use to stop and start the flow of urine 3 times a day for 10 reps and build up to 20 reps. When the sphincter and genital support muscles surrounding the urethra contract by you squeezing them, it signals the bladder to relax, so the urge to urinate may eventually subside. These muscles are called Pubococcygeus and they can be as thin as a pinky or as thick as three fingers. The thicker the better.
Electrical Stimulation and Biofeedback: Electrical stimulation is referred to as Pelvic Floor Muscle Electrical Stimulation or (PFES). This is performed in a clinic or doctors’ office where PFES combined with biofeedback may prove helpful providing passive contractions that boost awareness of pelvic floor muscle contractions. This may be favorable for people who are not capable of doing Kegel exercises on their own.
There are oral medications for OAB that prevent the urge to urinate by relaxing sphincter muscles and there is Estrogen for women who can choose to take it orally or insert it vaginally. If you suffer from OAB, seek the advice of a qualified health care professional who can diagnose the cause and prescribe appropriate treatment options for you.
For more information on OAB, go to www.OveractiveBladder.com