- Bladder retraining. This involves gradually increasing the amount of time you can wait between bathroom breaks. To start, try to wait 15 minutes longer than usual between each bathroom break. Once you can comfortably wait 15 minutes, increase the wait time to 20 minutes, and so on.
- Pelvic floor exercises. These exercises strengthen the muscles that support the bladder and urethra, which can help to improve bladder control. To do a pelvic floor exercise, squeeze the muscles you use to stop the flow of urine. Hold for 5 seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 times.
- Fluid management. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, but avoid drinking too much before bed. Limiting your caffeine and alcohol intake can also help to reduce bladder urgency.
- Diet modification. Avoid foods and drinks that can irritate the bladder, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, spicy foods, and caffeine.
- Weight loss. If you are overweight or obese, losing weight can help to reduce pressure on the bladder and improve bladder control.
- Smoking cessation. Smoking can irritate the bladder and make OAB symptoms worse.
- Medications. There are a number of medications that can help to treat OAB. These medications work by relaxing the bladder muscle or reducing the production of urine.
- Nerve stimulation. If other treatments have not been effective, your doctor may recommend nerve stimulation. This involves implanting a device that sends electrical pulses to the nerves that control the bladder.
- Surgery. Surgery is rarely necessary to treat OAB, but it may be an option for people with severe symptoms.
Here are some additional tips that may help to manage OAB:
- Keep a bladder diary to track your bladder habits and identify any triggers for your symptoms.
- Avoid going to the bathroom “just in case.” This can train your bladder to hold less urine and make OAB symptoms worse.
- Empty your bladder completely when you go to the bathroom.
- Double void (urinate twice in a row) after sexual activity to empty your bladder completely.
- Stay calm and relaxed when you feel the urge to urinate. Taking deep breaths or focusing on something else can help to reduce the urge.
If you have OAB, it is important to talk to your doctor about the best treatment options for you. With proper management, most people with OAB can live full and active lives.