Prevention of OAB
Millions of people live with the symptoms of overactive bladder in the U.S. While
overactive bladder may not be preventable, there are a number of ways to reduce your
risk for developing OAB symptoms by making healthy lifestyle choices:
- Maintain your muscles – pelvic floor muscles, that is. Perform regular pelvic floor exercises (also called Kegels) as taught to you by a physical therapist to maintain the strength of these important muscles that support your bladder.
- Limit your fluid intake appropriately, as advised by your urologist.
- Limit or eliminate foods that can irritate your bladder such as caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods.
- Quit smoking.
- Manage any chronic conditions you have through regular medical exams with your physician including diabetes and neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease which cannaggravate or lead to overactive bladder symptoms.
- Exercise regularly.
- Make certain diet and lifestyle changes.
Lifestyle Changes To Help Prevent and Manage OAB Symptoms
When it comes to overactive bladder, management of symptoms is the number one
focus. Some women with mild symptoms of OAB may benefit from making small lifestyle
changes that can have a big effect on improving bladder symptoms.
Four Important Steps To Take the Urge Out of OAB
- Maintain a healthy weight – Being overweight or obese can aggravate the symptoms of OAB and increase the occurrence of urinary incontinence due to stress on the bladder. Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight may help alleviate some of your OAB symptoms.
Manage fluid intake – Your urologist may recommend that you limit the amount of fluid you take in throughout the day. Your doctor can tell you how much daily fluid
you need and how to healthily reduce fluid intake, which may help minimize your OAB symptoms.
Make some diet changes – There are certain foods and liquids that can aggravate your bladder symptoms. Caffeine, artificial sweeteners, chocolate, alcohol, certain sodas, citrus and acidic and spicy foods can irritate the bladder and worsen your symptoms. Try limiting or eliminating these foods from your diet.
Keep a bladder diary – Keep track of when and how often you go to the bathroom to urinate to help your doctor better understand your OAB symptoms. You can access the bladder diary HERE.
Alternative Medicine and OAB
While complementary or alternative therapies have not been proven to successfully treat overactive bladder, some alternative treatments might be helpful in understanding and managing your OAB symptoms including:
- Biofeedback – This is a technique that allows you to understand how your body functions and how to control your own body, including your bladder function. Electrical sensors are connected to your skin to measure and receive information about your body and how it is working. For managing OAB symptoms, your biofeedback therapist or urodynamacist will teach you how to make changes in your body, such as strengthening your pelvic floor muscles to help you control the feeling of urinary urgency. Biofeedback is also used as a relaxation technique for patients who have tight pelvic floor muscles and to calm the autonomic nervous system.
- Acupuncture – Acupuncture is an alternative therapy performed by a licensed acupuncturist that uses small and very thin needles that are carefully and expertly placed on acupuncture points on the body that are thought to control bladder function. Some patients who have not had success with more conservative therapies, lifestyle changes and/or medications can consider this alternative therapy as a treatment option for managing OAB symptoms.
Alternative therapy may not be covered by insurance, so it is important to contact your insurance company to understand what is covered.