Overactive bladder (OAR) is a condition that affects the bladder-storage function which causes a sudden urge to urinate which may be difficult to control and result in the involuntary loss of urine. This is also known as incontinence. You may also be experiencing overactive bladder if you urinate frequently, 8 or more times a day, or awaken multiple times at night to use the bathroom.
Managing an overactive bladder may seem difficult. Often those with overactive bladder feel embarrassed by the condition, but there are ways to make dealing with OAR easier. As always, talk to your doctor about your concerns and develop a treatment plan that is right for you.
In some cases, overactive bladder may be able to be controlled without the use of medication. These methods can be effective in easing the symptoms of overactive bladder and carry no side effects.
Kegel exercises work to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles which can help stop the bladder’s involuntary contractions. Kegel exercises are done in the same way you contract your muscles to stop the flow of urine. However, it may take up to eight weeks for you to notice a change in symptoms.
Monitoring and reducing your fluid intake may also help keep the symptoms of overactive bladder under control. You can try drinking smaller amounts or stop drinking closer to bedtime to reduce nighttime urges to go.
If you have difficulty controlling the release of urine, absorbent pads may be another way to manage incontinence. These will help protect your clothing from involuntary leakage and prevent a potentially embarrassing incident.
Limiting the intake of certain triggers may help reduce the urge to urinate. Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, in particular, may aggravate an overactive bladder.
Heavier people are at greater risk for developing overactive bladder. Maintaining a healthy weight may help ease symptoms.
There are medications that your doctor can prescribe that will help to relax the bladder and relieve the symptoms of overactive bladder. As with all medications, talk to your doctor about the side effects of these medications. Some of the most common side effects of these medicines are dry eyes and mouth and constipation. However, these side effects can be easily managed. Bladder medications are not likely to help control waking during the night to use the bathroom.