woman with overactive bladder treatment
Incontinence

Overactive Bladder Treatment: You’ve Got Options

It’s no fun having an overactive bladder. Danger can strike anywhere, and sometimes bad luck joins in, and there’s not a restroom in sight. Having an overactive bladder can limit your social life, professional life, and just overall pace at home. If you are suffering from an overactive bladder and are looking to change the flow of things (ha), then here are a couple of effective overactive bladder treatment options medical experts agree can tame that bladder.

#1 Diet and Lifestyle For Overactive Bladder Treatment

When it comes to our health, everything really does seem to circle back to diet and a few specific lifestyle changes. When it comes to what you eat, some foods and beverages may also make overactive bladder symptoms worse. So here are a few foods and drinks you can cut down on that have shown to make symptoms worse:

  • Tea/coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Citrus fruits and juices (orange, lemon, and so on)
  • Caffeinated soft drinks
  • Tomatoes/tomato-based products
  • Spicy/acidic foods and drinks
  • Foods or beverages that contain artificial sweeteners

By cutting down on these foods and drinks and other bladder irritants, you’ll likely find relief in symptoms of an overactive bladder. Also, in terms of lifestyle, there’s a link discovered with smoking and overactive bladder symptoms in both men and women. Therefore, cutting down the smoke breaks might just lead to a cut down on the bathroom breaks, too.

Excess weight can put pressure on the pelvic floor, too. While there’s a wide range of weights that we can be healthy at, several studies have shown that losing weight can alleviate overactive bladder symptoms.

#2 Exercising the Pelvic Floor

A weakened pelvic floor can lead to urine leaks (aka incontinence), as well as having to go to the bathroom more frequently. A lot of medical professionals advise exercising the pelvic floor to make it stronger. One of the most popular exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor are Kegels, which is literally lying down and contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles in sets.

Two other exercises that can strengthen the pelvic floor when done in the correct form are squats and bridges. These two pelvic floor exercises help activate pelvic floor muscles.

#3 Bladder Training For Overactive Bladder Treatment

This overactive bladder treatment option is best done with the guidance of your doctor. Many people find that training your bladder to wait before peeing can be a successful overactive bladder treatment. An overactive bladder starts to contract before it’s filled with urine, giving you the sensation of having to go without actually having anything to drop.

With bladder training, you’ll resist the urge to pee in order to train your bladder to wait, so it gets used to holding more urine. This is a long practice and requires patience, with the end goal being that you can wait two hours or more between bathroom visits. And if you want some back up while you go through bladder training, Lily Bird has you covered with pads and underwear for bladder leaks delivered straight to your door.

#4 Nerve Stimulation For Overactive Bladder Treatment

Nerve stimulation is an overactive bladder treatment some people take when conventional treatment options aren’t working. Nerves communicate to your brain that it’s time for your bladder to empty, so by treating the nerves that are a little trigger happy, you can help control the urges that rock your bladder. Among the several nerve treatments available, two of the most well known include:

Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation

Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation consists of small nerve impulses being delivered to a nerve branch located near the ankle that stimulates bladder control. However, this is not exactly a one and done procedure. With this overactive bladder treatment option, you’ll go to various sessions and then do monthly maintenance sessions.

The sessions usually take place at your doctors office and involve you having a small needle inserted through the skin near your ankle. If you hate needles, you’ll be pleased to know that this feels more like a prick and doesn’t hurt. After they place the needle, a small sticky pad is added near the bottom of the foot and gentle electrical pulses are sent through the needle while you rest. The sessions typically last 30 minutes and when you’re done, you can continue your day as you usually would.

Sacral Nerve Stimulation

This form of therapy electrically stimulates the nerves that control the bladder. A small neurotransmitter is implanted under the skin of the upper buttock area, which then sends mild electrical impulses to the sacral nerve. The sacral nerve is located in the lower back and can help provide bladder control. This form of nerve stimulation is one of the most popular approaches to overactive bladder treatment.

#5 Surgery for Overactive Bladder Treatment

Surgical overactive bladder treatment is usually saved last and is done when all other forms of treatment simply don’t cut it. There are a variety of procedures that can help with an overactive bladder. The surgery you get ultimately depends on the cause of your bladder control issues, the severity of the symptoms, and your sex. Some of the options include:

  • Putting a sling around the bladder (aptly named sling surgery)
  • Lifting the neck of the bladder (colposuspension)
  • Increasing the size of the bladder
  • Deflecting urine outside of the body

You’ve Got Options For Overactive Bladder Treatment

An overactive bladder is a pain in the you-know-what, but don’t let that stop you from living your best life. We totally get what you’re going through and we got your back. The best way to tackle these issues is by getting informed of what’s out there to help you. After all, you deserve to take back your freedom and kiss all those sporadic bathroom trips buh-bye. Make sure to always consult with your provider on what treatment works best for you. Soon, you’ll be trading in the bathroom breaks for all your favorite activities.

Want some back up while you research overactive bladder treatment? Lily Bird‘s got you covered with pads and underwear for bladder leaks delivered directly to your door.

By Jessica Thomas, MPH