HOW CAN I STOP MY OVERACTIVE BLADDER?
Millions of people in the United States struggle with Overactive Bladder (OAB) symptoms. Overactive bladder causes a frequent and sudden urge to urinate that may be difficult to control. An overactive bladder causes your bladder muscles to contract involuntarily. This gives the sensation of needing to urinate frequently even if your bladder isn’t full. There are two kinds of overactive bladder. One without urge incontinence, which is called overactive bladder, dry, and affects two-thirds of sufferers; and overactive bladder, wet, which includes the symptoms with urge incontinence
If you have an overactive bladder, you may:
- Feel a sudden urge to urinate that’s difficult to control
- Experience unintentional loss of urine immediately after an urgent need to urinate (urgency incontinence)
- Urinate frequently, usually eight or more times in 24 hours
- Wake up more than two times in the night to urinate (nocturia)
One or all of these symptoms can cause considerable stress and a negative impact on your quality of life. While the overactive bladder is most common in older adults, the condition is not a normal result of aging. While one in 11 people in the United States suffers from overactive bladder, it mainly affects people 65 and older, although women can be affected earlier, often in their mid-forties.
What is the main cause of overactive bladder?
Within the body, OAB is often the result of spasms in the detrusor muscle, the main muscle of the urinary bladder wall. When the brain senses the bladder is about half full, it usually sends out nerve signals. These cause the pelvic floor and sphincter muscles to relax while the detrusor contracts, squeezing out urine. In people with OAB, detrusor muscle contractions occur at random. This leads to a sudden urge to urinate, even when there’s very little urine in the bladder. Depending on how the urinary sphincter muscles react, urine leakage can occur. An overactive bladder can be caused by several things or even a combination of causes.
Some possible causes can include:
- Weak pelvic muscles: Pregnancy and childbirth can cause your pelvic muscles (the muscles and tissues that support the organs in your lower abdomen) to stretch and weaken. This can cause the bladder to sag out of its normal position. All of these factors can cause leakage.
- Nerve damage: Sometimes signals are sent to the brain and bladder to empty at the wrong time. Trauma and diseases can cause this to happen. These can include:
- Pelvic or back surgery.
- Herniated disc.
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis.
- Medications, alcohol and caffeine: Alcohol and caffeine can cause your bladder to fill rapidly and possibly leak. Diuretic medications help your body get rid of salt and water, so your bladder can fill up fast and may even leak.
- Infection: An infection, like a urinary tract infection (UTI), can irritate the bladder nerves and cause the bladder to squeeze without warning.
- Excess weight: Being overweight places extra pressure on your bladder. This can lead to urge incontinence.
- Estrogen deficiency after menopause: This hormonal change could contribute to a loss of urine due to urgency.
- catheter use
- Enlarged prostate: Among men, many cases of OAB are caused by an enlarged prostate gland. Your prostate may get larger as you age. It can block your flow of urine, causing symptoms of OAB.
- Birth giving: Giving birth via the vagina
- Bladder abnormalities: such as bladder stones or tumors, stretched or weakened muscles, incomplete bladder emptying, structural problems with the bladder
- the decreased thinking ability or related diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease
- Issues with hip: hip surgery or hip problems
How can i calm my bladder?
With OAB, people experience sudden urges to urinate that they can’t control, as well as the need to urinate frequently. People with OAB may also leak when they experience the urge to urinate. It is a condition that affects about 33 million Americans. Lifestyle changes are a first step in overcoming an overactive bladder.
Change your diet
Reduce diuretics, such as alcohol and caffeine, which stimulate muscles in the bladder, increasing urgency. Caffeine should be limited to 100 mg a day (about half a cup of coffee). Also, reducing irritants, including acidic fruits and juices, carbonated beverages, spicy foods and artificial sweeteners like saccharine and aspartame.
Eating more fiber is important because the bladder and rectum are in close proximity, being constipated puts constant pressure on the bladder,” says Sebastian. You can prevent constipation by exercising regularly and including more fiber in your diet. Foods high in fiber include beans, whole-wheat breads, fruits, and vegetables.
To ease bladder symptoms, try three moves once a day while lying down on your back:
- Inner thigh squeeze- With your knees bent and feet on the floor, place a pillow between your knees and lightly squeeze to work your adductors. Inhale, and as you exhale, clench your stomach muscles to tilt your pelvis up, while keeping your tailbone on the floor. (It should feel like you’re pulling your pelvis towards your belly button.) Hold for 10 seconds while breathing normally. Relax completely. Repeat 10 times.
- Hip flexors- Position yourself as you did for the “inner thigh squeeze” exercise, but without the pillow. Inhale, and as you exhale, clench your stomach muscles to tilt your pelvis up, while keeping your tailbone on the floor. Then lift up your hips to create a “bridge,” and slowly open and close your knees 10 times. Lower your hips and relax completely. Repeat 2 or 3 times for a total of 20 to 30 hip rotations.
Lie down and get comfortable. Allow yourself 10 undisturbed minutes. Take a few slow, deep breaths, allowing your belly to rise and fall. With each exhale let your muscles go, allowing yourself to “melt” into your supporting surface. Concentrate on your breath. Inhale to a silent count of 3, allowing your stomach to rise, hold for a second at the top of your inhale, then slowly exhale to a silent count of 3. Repeat this pattern five times. Next, continue breathing slowly and deeply, but now to a count of 4. Progress to a count of 5, then 6.
Do Kegel Exercises
Your pelvic floor muscles support your urethra and bladder, so keeping them strong is crucial to preventing leaks. Research shows that Kegel exercises, which involve contracting and releasing the pelvic floor muscles, can be very helpful. Try this Kegel routine recommended by the American Urogynecologic Society (AUS), three times a day:
- Start by pulling in and holding a pelvic muscle squeeze (as if you were trying to stop yourself from urinating) for 3 seconds then relax for an equal amount of time (3 seconds). Do this for 10 repetitions.
- Increase your contraction hold by 1 second each week until you are contracting for a 10-second squeeze.
- Remember to rest and breathe between contractions.
- When you start, do the exercises while lying down. As you get stronger; do an exercise set sitting and standing.
Pumpkin seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Research found that pumpkin seed oil improves abnormal urinary function and reduces symptoms of OAB.
Some drinks which ease overactive bladder include:
- plain water
- soy milk, which may be less irritating than cow’s or goat’s milk
- cranberry juice
- less acidic fruit juices, such as apple or pear
- barley water
- diluted squash
- caffeine-free teas like fruit teas
Foods and drinks to avoid
Foods and drinks that can contribute to OAB symptoms include alcohol, artificial sweeteners, chocolate, citrus fruits, coffee, soda, spicy foods, tea, tomato-based foods and others. You can test which drinks or foods irritate your bladder by eliminating them from your diet. Then reincorporate them one by one every two to three days at a time. Permanently eliminate the particular food or drink that worsens your symptoms.
It’s also recommended to refrain from smoking. Smoking can irritate the bladder muscle and cause coughing, which often contributes to incontinence.
Does drinking water help with overactive bladder?
Drinking water is one of the best things you can do for an overactive bladder. It’s best to spread out your water intake throughout the day. Take sips; don’t gulp down a lot of water at once. Think about your bladder like a sponge. It needs to get wet to start absorbing water. Your bladder should be saturated with water to expand to hold more. Drinking too much puts pressure on your bladder, and makes you need to urinate. Drinking too little means your urine becomes concentrated, which irritates your bladder, and leads to urinary urgency. However, it’s important to maintain your fluid intake to avoid dehydration. You can drink slowly and throughout the day to maintain adequate hydration. Aim to drink four to eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Look at your urine and aim for a light-yellow color. Dark urine is a sign that you are not drinking enough. Colorless urine is a sign of drinking too much. Try to drink only during the day and stop a couple of hours before you go to bed. Drink mainly water; avoid caffeine and carbonated drinks at night.
Treatment for overactive bladder
A combination of treatment strategies may be the best approach to relieve overactive bladder symptoms.
Behavioral interventions are the first choice in helping manage an overactive bladder. They’re often effective, and they carry no side effects. Behavioral interventions may include:
- Pelvic floor muscle exercises: Kegel exercises strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and urinary sphincter. These strengthened muscles can help you stop the bladder’s involuntary contractions.
- Your doctor or a physical therapist can help you learn how to do Kegel exercises correctly. Just like any other exercise routine, how well Kegel exercises work for you depends on whether you perform them regularly.
- Biofeedback: During biofeedback, you’re connected to electrical sensors that help you measure and receive information about your body. The biofeedback sensors teach you how to make subtle changes in your body, such as strengthening your pelvic muscles so that when you have feelings of urgency, you’re better able to suppress them.
- Healthy weight: If you’re overweight, losing weight may ease symptoms. Weight loss may help if you also have stress urinary incontinence.
- Scheduled toilet trips: Setting a schedule for toileting — for example, every two to four hours — gets you on track to urinate at the same times every day rather than waiting until you feel the urge to urinate.
- Intermittent catheterization: If you are not able to empty your bladder well, using a catheter periodically to empty your bladder completely helps your bladder do what it can’t do by itself. Ask your doctor if this approach is right for you.
- Absorbent pads: Wearing absorbent pads or undergarments can protect your clothing and help you avoid embarrassing incidents, which means that you won’t have to limit your activities. Absorbent garments come in a variety of sizes and absorbency levels.
- Bladder training: Bladder training involves training yourself to delay voiding when you feel an urge to urinate. You begin with small delays, such as 30 minutes, and gradually work your way up to urinating every three to four hours. Bladder training is possible only if you’re able to tighten (contract) your pelvic floor muscles successfully.
Nerve stimulation is a relatively simple and promising treatment for an overactive bladder. This treatment may help people whose symptoms do not respond to lifestyle changes or medication. It may also be beneficial for those who experience adverse effects from the drugs. Nerve stimulation involves sending mild electric currents to the muscles of the pelvis and lower back that play a role in urination. It can either help the muscles contract or encourage the growth of helpful nerve cells in the area.
There are two main ways of performing nerve stimulation:
- Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS): A professional puts a small electrode through the skin of the lower leg. A device sends pulses of electricity to the electrode, which stimulates a nerve in the leg. This, in turn, stimulates a nerve in the lower back that is responsible for controlling the bladder.
- Sacral nerve stimulation (SNS): SNS uses the same process as PTNS, but the professional will place the electrode under the skin just above the buttocks. They use this to stimulate the nerve in the lower back that helps control bladder storage and the urge to urinate.
Some people may find medications beneficial. A person should follow their doctor’s instructions when using medications, and they may need to attend follow-up sessions so that the doctor can monitor them for adverse effects.
Depending on the cause and symptoms of overactive bladder, surgery may be an option if other treatments do not help. Adapting or repairing damage to urinary organs may help relieve symptoms. The choice of procedure will depend to some extent on the cause of overactive bladder, the person’s sex, and the severity of the symptoms of urinary incontinence.
Thus, a good lifestyle, proper treatment and prevention will definitely help you get some relief. Overactive bladder may be a cause of utter discomfort but with some basic lifestyle changes and doctor’s directions some relief may be attained. Hopefully this article acted as a good guide and gave some basic information regarding overactive bladder.