Urge incontinence, also known as overactive bladder (OAB) is the frequent and sudden urge to urinate followed by an involuntary voiding of the bladder. Urge incontinence may occur for a variety of reasons, and people who experience this problem should seek diagnosis and treatment of their condition from a medical professional.
Combating the Urge
In some cases, urge incontinence becomes an enduring problem even after physician diagnosis and treatment. In this situation, people who experience urge incontinence must adapt. Combating the urge to urinate is done in many ways:
- Perform Kegel exercises. Doing Kegel exercises can strengthen the muscles in the pelvic floor, which can make it easier to resist the urge to urinate. To perform Kegel exercises, flex the muscles in your pelvis as if attempting to stop urination. Do not flex the muscles in your buttocks, abdomen or legs. Do this ten times in a row, multiple times per day.
- Use the restroom at every opportunity. One of the best ways to avoid the urge to urinate is to urinate before the urge occurs. When in public places and at the work place, urinate at every opportunity. Stop in at restrooms even when you don’t feel the need to go.
- Set an alarm to use the restroom. You may forget to use the restroom if you stay stationary for long periods of time. Set an alarm to go to the bathroom on an hourly or every other hour basis to ensure that you remember to go as often as is needed to prevent accidents.
- Train and strengthen your bladder. Train your bladder to wait. Once your body is used to going to the restroom every hour or so, add 15 minutes to the time between bathroom breaks. Adjust your body to this change, then add another 15 minutes. This will help strengthen your bladder muscles.
- Avoid drinking diuretics. Alcohol and caffeine are both diuretics, which means that beverages that contain alcohol and caffeine can increase your urge to urinate.
- Avoid eating foods that irritate the bladder. Spicy foods, tomato-based foods and chocolate all can irritate the bladder and contribute to a frequent need to urinate.
Living with Incontinence
While the above tactics may be effective for partially controlling incontinence, many incontinence sufferers still experience involuntary urination from time to time. Good preparation is the key to living with incontinence. Keeping a spare change of clothes on hand at all times can help prevent embarrassing situations in public. Dark pants are more effective at hiding wet spots than medium and light colored pants.
Finally, use of incontinence underwear can help people who suffer from incontinence to live full, normal lives. Wearing incontinence underwear on a daily basis can enable people who experience incontinence to maintain a job, visit friends, go to public places and do all the things other people do without fear or embarrassment.