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Overactive Bladder

Sudden urge to urinate where you may not reach the toilet and frequent urination.

You can do something about overactive bladder yourself by exercising your bladder, exercising your pelvic floor, losing weight, adjusting drinking habits and by counteracting constipation.

Exercising your bladder
Because of the fear of involuntary urination you seek to urinate every time you can. When you do this your bladder gets used to urinate frequently and that worsens the problem. By exercising your bladder you can achieve fewer urinations. Exercising your bladder consists of gradually training your bladder to last longer before it has to empty. Practically, it may for example be done by urinating once every other hour during the day on the first week. The week after you urinate every second and a half hour and so on – until you reach three hour between each urination. If you feel the urge to urinate outside the schedule you should sit down or stand still and squeeze the pelvic floor.

It is important that the bladder is completely emptied every time you go to the bathroom. You make sure of that by first urinating then getting up for just a second and then get down again and try to urinate again. This is repeated once more – so a total of three times urination every time you visit the toilet. In that way the bladder becomes accustomed to emptying completely every time.

Exercising your bladder may seem strange. However, if you succeed in exercising your bladder up to holding for three hours together with emptying the bladder completely, many with overactive bladder have improved greatly.

Exercising your pelvic floor
Exercising your pelvic floor – not to exchange for exercising your bladder – can also help with an overactive bladder.

Exercising the pelvic floor is performed by contracting the muscles of the pelvic floor – this is called the Kegel exercises. You must perform 20 squeezes of 6-8 seconds duration three times every day. You can feel for yourself whether you squeeze in the right manner by inserting to fingers in your vagina. If you do it right the vagina squeezes your fingers when you squeeze.

It takes 2-3 months to train the muscles of the pelvic floor to their best – so you must be patient. However, a lot of people with overactive bladder improves greatly from a few months of exercising their pelvic floor.

If you suffer from constipation, it worsens your urinary incontinence. Therefore, you should eat whole grain, drink 1,5 litre of fluid a day and possibly eat bran or fibrous food.

Overweight also worsens an overactive bladder. Regular exercise and healthy food is important if you want to lose weight. Changing your habits are crucial for a lasting weight loss.

Adjusting your drinking habits can also lessen your troubles. If you have trouble holding water during the night it is a good idea not to drink after 6 pm.

Drink approximately one and a half litre fluid a day – this covers the body’s needs.

If you are taking diuretics, you should take it in the morning. Furthermore, there is some medication that can worsen an overactive bladder. If you suspect this, talk to your doctor about it.

Further reading on Stress-triggered urinary incontinence