If you’re one of the estimated 33 million Americans who have an overactive bladder, you know how uncomfortable the condition can be. The most common complaints from people with overactive bladder are the irritation it can cause and the near-constant need to urinate.
While there is no cure yet for overactive bladder, there are some lifestyle changes that might help you reduce its irritating sensations. Here are some tips you may want to try:
1. Drink enough fluids
Unless you have a medical condition that limits the amount of fluid you should consume, don’t restrict your drinking too much. Some people feel that if they drink less fluid less often, they won’t have to urinate as much. Unfortunately, this won’t work. The less you drink, the more concentrated your urine will become. This concentrated urine can be more irritating as it sits in your bladder. This could trigger the feeling of urgency, the need to urinate as soon as possible. Healthy urine is generally pale and straw colored. If it is darker, then it may be more concentrated than it should be.
2. Avoid food and drinks that worsen your symptoms
Some people find that their overactive bladder symptoms get worse when they eat or drink certain things. The most common triggers seem to be:
· Caffeinated soft drinks
· Citrus juices and fruits
· Tomatoes and tomato-based products
· Other spicy and acidic foods and drinks
· Foods and drinks containing artificial sweeteners
3. Avoid constipation
If your bowel habits are not regular, you may become constipated. As the stool backs up in your bowels, this could put pressure on your bladder, causing the irritating urge to urinate.
If you have a tendency to be constipated, here are some tips you may want to try to avoid it:
· Increase your fiber intake. Foods such as whole-wheat bread and pasta, bran, oatmeal, legumes, fruit (mostly with skin), and potatoes (with skin) are examples of foods that are higher in fiber. Be sure to be mindful of your overall carbohydrate intake, though.
· Drink fluids. Drinking enough water and other fluids helps keep your stool soft enough to pass through your system.
· Exercise. Regular exercise, even just walking every day, can help regulate your bowels.
4. Stop smoking
If you smoke, this could increase the irritation you feel from your overactive bladder. Also, smoking itself is a risk factor for developing overactive bladder.
5. Speak to your doctor about medications
If you’ve tried the lifestyle changes mentioned above and you’re still experiencing irritation from your overactive bladder, you may want to speak to your doctor about taking medication. Some people get relief from medications that block the nerve impulses to the bladder.
While these medications don’t help everyone and may cause some side effects, many people find that they help make life with this uncomfortable condition a bit more bearable.