Managing OAB: the first steps

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There are several ways to manage Overactive Bladder (OAB). And just a few, simple changes to your daily routine may improve your symptoms and improve overall bladder health. These are a great place to start.

Take a look at your lifestyle

Lifestyle is a key factor for overall health and wellbeing. It’s worth evaluating these areas and taking appropriate action: - Weight loss - Stopping smoking - Regular exercises - Regular bowels (add plenty of fibre and water in your diet) - Reduce anxiety (talk to your doctor about ways to reduce stress)

Think about your diet

Certain types of food and drink irritate the bladder and may contribute to and/or worsen OAB symptoms. Try avoiding certain foods and replacing them with other options over several days to see if your symptoms improve.

Foods to embrace and avoid

Manage your fluids

It’s vital you stay hydrated, this ensures that your urine stays dilute.
If you restrict fluids – perhaps you’re worried about going to the toilet too often – your urine may become more concentrated. This can irritate your bladder further and may mean even more toilet trips.

Retrain your bladder

For many people with OAB, making frequent toilet trips can become a habit that’s hard to break. Retraining your bladder will help you to overcome these habits.
Bladder retraining helps you begin to hold more urine for longer periods of time. It is possible to train your bladder to do this by gradually increasing the time between each visit to the toilet.

This method may sound simple, however bladder training takes time and determination and will not work overnight.

Speak to your doctor for guidance and medical advice. They may refer you to a continence nurse or another healthcare professional if required.

Give your pelvic floor a work out

The pelvic floor muscles create a hammock or sling that supports the bladder, the bowel and, in women, the uterus. If these muscles are weak they may not support the bladder as well as they should, sometimes causing urine leakage at the wrong times.
But there is a way to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles over time. It’s all down to simple pelvic exercises. You can do them discreetly just about any time and anywhere. However, they do take practice.