Archive for the ‘urinary frequency’ Category

UTIs-Natural Solutions For Prevention

September 6, 2016

UTIs affect millions of men and women impacting their quality of life and may even affect their kidneys. Fortunately, most of these infections are uncomfortable with symptoms of burning on urination, frequency of urination, and back and pelvic pain. This article will discuss the usefulness of cranberry juice which may serve as an effective treatment to prevent recurrent UTIs.

A recent study reported in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Aug. 2015 showed that cranberry pills (two capsules twice daily, equivalent to two 8-ounce servings of cranberry juice daily) cut the rate of UTIs in half.

Also there is supplement, D-mannose, can also help to reduce recurrent UTIs. Another study found good results from a combination of cranberry and d-mannose.

D-mannose is filtered through your kidneys and concentrated in your bladder and coats the bacteria causing the infections and renders them unable to stay in your urinary tract.

More than 90 percent of all UTIs are caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli), which is normally found in your intestinal tract. Problems only arise when this ordinary bacterium is present in high numbers in places where it shouldn’t be—like your urinary system.

Although antibiotics are an effective means of eradicating bacteria within the urinary tract, antibiotics need to be used with caution. Antibiotics are not selective and they kill the pathogenic bacteria in the urinary tract but also kill the good bacteria within the gastrointestinal tract. As a result, the bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics and with the removal of bacteria from the gastrointestinal tract there is a risk of other infections such as vaginal infections, fungal infections and side effects like diarrhea.

Bottom Line: UTIs are so very common and affect millions of American men and women. Cranberry juice and D-mannose may be a solution to preventing recurrent infections. If you have any questions about recurrent UTIs, speak to your physician.

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Urinary Incontinence-Don’t Suffer In Silence

December 20, 2014

Urinary incontinence is one of life’s most embarrassing problems. Millions of American women suffer from incontinence in silence. I see dozens of women every month with this problem and so many of them have been wearing pads and diapers for years because they were too embarrassed to bring up the problem with their physician. This blog will discuss the problem and why it is important to see a physician to get treatment.

There are millions of people who deal with the embarrassing and disruptive effects of urinary incontinence, yet it’s a health secret that is rarely discussed. Contrary to what a lot of people think, urinary incontinence is not a normal sign of aging. Yes, it is more common in older men and women but you don’t have to live with the problem as treatments are available.

There are several reasons for urinary incontinence, but for women, one of the most common is weakened muscles in the pelvic floor.
A woman’s body goes through many changes during a lifetime and weakness or injury to muscles in the pelvic floor can cause health issues for women of all ages. The group of muscles in the pelvic floor can be affected by aging, childbirth, posture or injury. This loss of support of the pelvic muscles can result in incontinence, pelvic pain, or pain with intercourse.

Weakened pelvic floor muscles can be strengthened with Kegel exercises. (see my website, http://www.neilbaum.com, for more information on Kegel exercises). For the problem of urgency and frequency and urge incontinence or overactive bladder, there are effective medications to treat this condition. Finally, for women with both kinds of incontinence due to weakened pelvic muscles, they can be treated successfully with physical therapy.

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you should speak to your physician as help is available:
Do you usually get a strong urge to urinate?
Do you always make it to the bathroom on time?
Do you leak urine when you sneeze or cough?
Do you leak urine during physical activity?
Do you get up more than once per night to urinate?
Do you feel heaviness in the pelvic area?

Bottom Line: If you’ve been keeping urinary incontinence a secret, you’re not alone. You don’t have to accept it. Help is available. Talk to your doctor.

Incontinence in Women-You Don’t Have To Depend on Depends!

August 6, 2014

Many women suffer in silence with their problem of urinary incontinence. About 1\3 of women between 40-70 have a problem of urinary incontinence and it is more common in women after menopause. This blog will discuss the problem and what are some solutions to this common condition that affects the quality of life of so many women.

Urinary incontinence, the loss of bladder control, is a common and often embarrassing problem. The severity ranges from occasionally leaking urine during a cough or sneeze to having an urge to urinate that’s so sudden and strong it’s impossible to get to a toilet in time.

Having accidents as an adult can be deeply embarrassing and most women don’t want to talk about it, yet it is far more common than many sufferers realize.

And the condition not only affects women’s confidence – it can also lead to mental health issues. Half (51 per cent) of women with adult incontinence (AI) also suffer from depression.

Because of the embarrassment surrounding the condition 60 per cent never seek help from their doctors, and of those who do 28 per cent delay seeking treatment for up to three to five years because they are ashamed.
Yet this common phenomenon can happen to women at any age and for many reasons including childbirth, the menopause or strenuous exercise.
This condition can also affect patient’s sex lives, with more than a quarter admitting it made them worry about sexual intimacy with their partners.

A large majority women said they had to change everything from the clothes they wear, the bags they carry, the way they travel, where they go and how they socialize.
They don’t always realize that help is available and that there are the right products out there that offer the comfort and protection women need to live life to the full.

Low impact sports such as cycling, yoga or elliptical machine exercises are ideal activities for keeping fit without affecting a sensitive bladder condition.

Abdominal workouts such as sit ups, crunches or plank kicks place a lot of pressure on the pelvic floor. Opt for alternative exercises where breathing or the position itself supports the pelvic floor.

PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES
Pelvic floor exercises and targeted Pilates and yoga exercises can be particularly helpful. By practicing at least three times a day, they can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and give more control when needed..

DRINK JUST ENOUGH
There’s no need to avoid drinking in order to reduce the urge to visit the bathroom. Limiting water intake makes urine more concentrated, which boosts the chances of bladder irritation.

NO HEAVY LIFTING
Lifting heavy objects is particularly bad for the pelvic floor and back. Ask for help instead.
Just Say No To Caffeine
Caffeine, alcohol and carbonated drinks could be your new worst enemies. Try limiting coffee, tea and carbonated beverages for a week or two as they can irritate a sensitive bladder.

SET A SCHEDULE
Your bladder is trainable. If you need to pass water frequently and need to rush to the restroom, ask your PCP about a daily schedule for building up the bladder’s holding capacity. Remember, allow your bladder to empty completely each time you go to the toilet.

WEAR BACK-UP
A growing number of pads for day and night use as well as absorbent underwear and bed pads are available at high street pharmacy chains. Wearing one may be the difference between being stuck at home and feeling able to go out for periods of time.
Most cases can be improved with simple lifestyle changes and pelvic floor exercises as well as by finding the right products for you.

Bottom Line: By doing daily pelvic floor exercises, you can decrease your incontinent episodes and not only build your pelvic floor muscles but also build your confidence.

Mind Over Bladder-Stress Reduction Used To Treat Overactive Bladder*

June 28, 2014

Overactive bladder (OAB) or when you gotta go, you gotta go affects millions of American men and women. OAB is a condition that significantly impacts the quality of life of those who suffer from this problem.

Now there is evidence that relaxing the mind may be helpful when it comes to reducing bladder urge issues, according to a new study completed at the University of Utah. Thirty women participated in an eight-week study and were followed for one year comparing the impact of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) with yoga on urinary urge incontinence, a challenge faced by as many as 26 percent of women in the United States.

Those affected may experience large, unpredictable leakage of urine which can be psychologically and socially devastating.

Older women are often the ones experiencing this incontinence, though it’s not clear why. Weaker muscles and neurological elements are likely the culprit. Medications are effective initially but not long-term and can have bothersome side effects.

Twelve months after participating in the study, the women who studied mindfulness-based stress reduction had 66.7 percent fewer urinary urge incontinence episodes compared with the control group, which saw only 16.7 percent reduction at that time. It may help to help calm the mind so the emotional area of the brain is not activated and thus allows the person to learn to reframe the normal urge sensations from their bladder.

More study is needed and the next step for researchers is to secure a National Institutes of Health grant to conduct the study on a larger group of women in the next several years.

Bottom Line: Learning techniques of stress reduction may be helpful for those who suffer from overactive bladder.

*this blog was inspired by an article in WebMD which appeared at: http://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/news/20090508/mind-over-bladder-may-lessen-leaks

Urinary Incontinence-You Don’t Have To Depend On Depends

June 3, 2014

Probably nothing is more depressing to a man or woman than losing control of their bladder. We tend to take for granted the act of urination and being able to urinate into a toilet when it is socially convenient. When any man or woman has to resort to pads, panty liners, or diapers, that is a very discouraging and often a depressing event in their lives. This can lead to the person restricting their social activities, becoming reclusive and even becoming depressed.
For a person who has lost control over her bladder life can be very difficult. It means he\she would lead a restricted life, think twice before stepping out of the house, and will be unable to undertake journeys. In short, he\she will lead a life that is far from normal.
It is a debilitating ailment that can make life immensely difficult. Urinary incontinence that results in sudden loss of bladder control is both embarrassing and distressing. A sudden, uncontrollable urge to urinate often leads to involuntary loss of urine in such people. However, lack of awareness and taboo associated with the problem often causes people to suffer in silence, when in fact, they should seek medical help.
Involuntary actions of the bladder muscles may be a result of damage to the nerves of the bladder, to the spinal cord and brain, or to the bladder muscles. Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and injury can also harm bladder nerves or muscles. While factors like injury, stroke, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis are common to both men and women, what makes the disorder twice as common in women than in men is the fact that they deliver babies and suffer menopause.
During pregnancy, when babies push down the bladder and urethra (the tube from the bladder to the outside of the body that transports urine from the bladder to the toilet), this weakens muscles of the pelvic floor and the bladder. Labor can weaken pelvic floor muscles and damage nerves that control the bladder. After menopause too, women experience problems with bladder control.
Urinary incontinence is of different types and a large number of women suffer from some or the other form of this problem. In some people with urinary incontinence exercises can be helpful. Kegel exercises performed several times a day can strengthen the muscles in the pelvis and helpf with the control of urination. Botulinum Toxin can be helpful in treating the symptoms and can give relief for up to 10 months. In fact, FDA has recently given a go ahead for the use of Botulinum Toxin for treating symptoms of urinary incontinence in certain neurological cases.

Bottom Line: Incontinence is not a natural consequence of aging. It is not something you have to live with. Help is available. You don’t have to depend on Depends!

Urine Incontinence — It’s Nothing to Sneeze At

January 17, 2014

One of life’s most embarrassing experiences is not being able to control your urination and soiling your clothes forcing you to leave any situation where you are engaged with others. It is one of the last medical conditions to remain in the closet as many men and women fail to seek medical attention for this common problem.
This blog will discuss the 4 types of urinary incontinence and what treatment options are available for this common problem.

Urge Incontinence occurs in women with an overactive bladder who may not be able to get to the toilet in time to prevent leakage, even though they tighten up all of their pelvic muscles, because they can’t control the bladder and keep urine in. Overactive bladder that leads to urge incontinence affects about 17 percent of women, but it increases to over 50 percent after menopause. Overactive bladder isn’t a normal part of aging.

Stress incontinence is a much more common type of incontinence. Menopause contributes to this problem, but stretching and tearing of the pelvic muscles during childbirth definitely sets the stage. The reduced muscle tone causes the urethra to sag. When pressure builds up in the abdomen from a cough, sneeze, laugh, jump or lift, internal organs put pressure on the bladder and a small amount of urine may escape.

Overflow incontinence occurs when more urine collects in the bladder than the bladder can hold and the excess urine leaks out. It can be caused by blockage of the urinary tract or nerve damage caused by conditions such as diabetes, stroke, or injury.

Functional incontinence is not really a problem with the urinary tract. It happens to people who can’t move quickly, who have eye problems or who suffer from confusion or memory loss. They simply can’t get to the bathroom in time.

Certain prescription drugs such as diuretics and some tranquilizers, and smoking and eating spicy foods or artificial sweeteners, or drinking alcohol and caffeine can irritate the bladder and worsen incontinence.

Mixed incontinence is a combination of both stress and urge incontinence.

Today, there are many more options to consider, from medications, pelvic floor physical therapy, and surgery. The first step is to have a work up to diagnose the underlying problem so that an appropriate treatment plan can be put into place. Sometimes more than one treatment is needed.
Treatment options include:
1. Bladder training — This approach teaches you to urinate only at scheduled times and waiting longer between trips to the bathroom. Start by going to the bathroom every 30 to 60 minutes while you are awake, even if you don’t have to go. After about one week, slowly increase the time interval by 30 minutes every week.

2. Kegel exercises — Dr. Arnold Kegel, a gynecologist at the University of Southern California, developed the exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles in 1948. Kegel exercises are often the first line of treatment for the millions of women in the U.S. suffering from unexpected bladder leakage due to coughing, sneezing, laughing or exercise. This if defined as stress incontinence but many women experience frustration because they unknowingly don’t perform the Kegels effectively, which leads to no improvement in symptoms. Most men or women need to do the exercises for 3-6 months before any changes will occur.

3. Pelvic Floor Electrical Stimulation with Biofeedback Therapy — This treatment uses computer graphs and sounds you can hear to show you which muscles you are exercising so you can perfect the exercises. Physical therapists and other professionals specially trained in problems related to women’s health teach exercises for the pelvic floor, trunk, back and extremities that can help strengthen the pelvic muscles and improve bladder control. The physical therapist may use devices that use mild, comfortable, electrical stimulation to train the bladder muscles when and how to squeeze.

4. InTone is a new FDA listed Class II Medical Device for home use that has been shown to effectively strengthen the pelvic floormuscles and helps to prevent embarrassing leakage without surgery or medication and can be done in the privacy of home. InTone is like a personal trainer for Kegel exercises.

5. Medications — Estrogen can be very helpful in improving the symptoms of some cases of incontinence. Studies have demonstrated improvement in 40- 70 percent of women. I have found that estrogen cream (one fourth to half an applicator) works better than either tablets or patches for this particular problem. Medications called smooth muscle relaxants (examples are oxybutynin and tolterodine) can also help if the problem is caused by abnormal bladder contractions.

6. Pessaries — These donut-like plastic or rubber rings are similar to a diaphragm used for birth control. They are fit into the vagina to lift and offer added support for the bladder when the pelvic muscles are weak.

7. Surgery — There are many operations that have been developed to support the bladder and improve or correct incontinence. Women don’t need to have a hysterectomy in order to control urinary incontinence. Most of these operations for incontinence can be performed as one-day surgeries.

8. Botox– If you don’t respond to oral medications, you may be a candidate for Botox injections directly into the bladder muscle. This, too, can be done as a one-day stay procedure and usually produces relief of symptoms of frequency of urination and urgency of urination with urge incontinence

Bottom Line: Women don’t have to suffer in silence. Successful treatment options are available and most women can be helped and made more comfortable and reduce their embarrassment.

Your Morning Cup of Jo Won’t Make You Go (Urinate)

May 28, 2012
Morning Coffee

Go ahead and have a sip, it won’t affect your bladder

For years the standard advice doctors gave patients was that coffee\caffeine contributed to urinary incontinence. Now we know that women with urinary incontinence who also enjoy their regular cup of coffee or tea don’t have to worry about the extra caffeine making their condition worse.
The new research stands in contrast to the common recommendation that women with incontinence avoid caffeinated foods and beverages.

A recent study from Harvard showed that women with moderate incontinence shouldn’t be concerned about their caffeine consumption. All women, even those without incontinence, need to know that caffeine increases the production of urine and may give some the urge to urinate.

The researchers looked at data on roughly 21,500 women enrolled in two large studies, each of which tracked the long-term health of U.S. nurses through surveys starting in the 1970s or 1980s. The study included women with moderate incontinence — defined as leaking urine one to three times per month — from participants who were asked about incontinence and caffeine consumption in 2002 or 2003.

The women were questioned about how much caffeine they consumed in the form of coffee, tea, soda or chocolate. Two years later, when they were again surveyed about incontinence, about 20% said their symptoms had gotten worse and they now leaked urine at least once per week.
The percentage of women with urinary incontinence progression was similar across categories of baseline level of caffeine intake. Similarly, they were unable to find a link between increased caffeine consumption and worsening urinary symptoms — either for general incontinence or for overactive bladder in particular.

Bottom Line: If you are a woman with mild to moderate urinary incontinence, caffeine in moderation will probably not worsen your urinary symptoms
SOURCE: http://bit.ly/IJ1RzF (April 23, 2012 in Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology)

Don’t Let Your Bladder Drain Your Travel Plans

December 21, 2011

Travel today can make anyone anxious and nervous. But traveling and worrying about urinary incontinence can make even the most seasoned traveler think twice about making plans for a trip. This article will provide ideas that can help allay those apprehensions about traveling if you have urinary incontinence.

First, if fears about having an incontinence episode are causing you to consider skipping your trip entirely, check in with your doctor. There are medications that can be taken once a day that will help with bladder frequency, urgency of urination and urinary incontinence. You may need to start taking medications a few days or a week in advance of traveling for them to work most effectively, so don’t delay.
Here are other things to discuss with your doctor:

A Kegel a day may keep you dry and comfortable. Kegel exercises are used to strengthen the muscles in the pelvis. However, it may take weeks or months to train these muscles to help control your urination. You can do the exercises at any time even while reading this article or while waiting for the lavatory sign to read “vacant.”

Some medications have side effects that can contribute to urinary incontinence. Check to make sure other drugs you take aren’t undermining bladder control. For example, people who take diuretics to manage blood pressure or swelling might need to switch medications to fight incontinence .
Creating Your Flight Plan

Here’s how to plan for flying or driving “dry”:
Book tickets carefully. If you’re flying, try to get an aisle seat and, if possible, one close to the toilet. Many booking sites let you choose the seat you want on a map of the plane.

Plan your route. If you’re driving, take a careful look at your map and consider stopping for bathroom breaks every 90 minutes or so (based on your typical time between urges or leaks).

Buy supplies. Even with good planning, you could experience a leak. Adult absorbent pads can help you feel more confident. For long trips, talk with your doctor about urethral plugs or portable catheters. Some patients may have a catheter or tube inserted into the bladder before a trip which will drain urine from the bladder to a leg bag which can be easily concealed under your clothing. The catheter can then be removed when you reach your destination. And if you’re flying, check ahead with your airline to find out what you can take in a carry-on. Generally, all prescription assistive products can go on the plane with you.

Learn foreign customs. If you’re traveling internationally, learn how to ask for a bathroom in the local language. Also check in advance to find out whether you will need change for public restrooms and tips for attendants.
Bladder Control While on Your Trip

Choose beverages carefully. Caffeine, soda, beer, and wine are all diuretics and increase the production of urine and can aggravate an already overactive bladder. You should skip these while flying or driving. Sip on water if you’re thirsty.

Ask for privacy. Should you find yourself in the awkward situation of needing a pat-down or other security screening, and you’re feeling embarrassed about your incontinence or related supplies, know that you can ask security officers for privacy. You may want to ask your doctor in advance for a note to confirm your situation.

Avoid constipation as constipation actually makes bladder control more difficult, so make sure you eat a varied diet and have regular bowel movements.

Void early and often. Instead of waiting for a leak, be proactive and seize your opportunities. Make sure you go to the bathroom before you get on the plane, during a layover, and when you have opportunities between meal and beverage cart service times. When driving, stick to your planned stops, even if you don’t feel the urge to go.

Pack a change of clothes. You want to travel light, but you should have easy access to a spare set (or two) of underwear and easy-to-wash travel pants.

Pack toilet supplies. Because you never know how well bathrooms will be maintained, you may want to carry your own flushable wipes, spare toilet tissue, sanitizing hand gel, plastic bags for disposing of trash or for storing soiled clothes, and any other supplies you think you might need.

Plan for special events. You may occasionally have to attend a gala dinner or other social engagement that could require sitting for hours while people speak or make presentations. Try to find out whether these will be on your itinerary and whether you can be seated close to a door.

Bottom Line: With proactive incontinence management, your trip should be as pleasurable and comfortable as you want and you won’t have to depend on Depends!

Article modified from Taking Incontinence on the Road, By Madeline Vann, MPHMedically reviewed by Farrokh Sohrabi, MD

When Your Bladder Ruins a Good Night’s Sleep-Taming the Overactive Bladder

August 19, 2011

Nothing ruins a good night’s sleep more than getting up multiple times to empty your bladder. Often those millions of American men and women are exhausted in the morning because their sleep was interrupted to many times. Now there’s a few steps you can take to tame that overactive bladder.

For the approximately 16% of people over the age of 18 who have an overactive bladder (OAB), getting up two or more times a night can become a regular occurrence. Even if they make it to the bathroom in time, they wake up so often to urinate that they aren’t getting a good night’s sleep.
Generally, the amount of urine in our bodies decreases and becomes more concentrated at night, so we can sleep six or eight hours without having to get up to use the bathroom more than once. But many people with OAB have nocturia, the need to urinate several times a night, which interrupts their sleep cycles.
Even worse, there are some men and women who are particularly sound sleepers or can’t get out of bed fast enough can wind up with wet sheets.
Take these steps to prevent accidents from happening:
Limit your fluid intake before bedtime. Try not to drink any liquids after 5 p.m. or 6 p.m.
Avoid foods and beverages that can irritate your bladder. If you can’t cut them out entirely, skip them in the hours before bedtime to help prevent nocturia. That includes:
Caffeine, which is a diuretic, which increases urine output
Alcohol
Citrus juices
Cranberry juice — though it is touted as great for bladder health, it is actually an irritant if you have OAB
Spicy foods, like curries
Acidic foods, such as tomatoes and tomato sauces
Chocolate
Artificial sweeteners

Double-void before bed or urinate twice, right before bed. For example, you can go to the bathroom, then brush your teeth and go through the rest of your bedtime routine. Then, just before you’re about to lie down — even if you don’t feel like you have to go — try to urinate and see if you can squeeze out another tablespoon or so.

Do Kegel exercises. Done regularly, they help control an overactive bladder. They will trigger a reflex mechanism to relax the bladder. If you feel a tremendous urge to urinate, doing a Kegel before you run to the bathroom will help settle down the bladder spasm and help you hold it until you get there.
Kegels simply involve contracting and releasing the muscles around the opening of your urethra, just as you do when going to the bathroom. You can learn what a Kegel exercise feels like by starting, then stopping, your urine stream. Start with three sets of 8-12 contractions. Hold them for six to 10 seconds each and perform these three to four times per week.

OAB and Your Sex Life
OAB can interfere with sexual intimacy another important activity that takes place in the bed. There’s nothing that can shut down an intimate moment faster than realizing you’ve lost control of your bladder during sexual intimacy — something that happens for many people with OAB. About 15% of my patients report having incontinence during sex.

When you’re being intimate, you’re used to secretions and moistness, but the thought that it’s actually urine leakage is really upsetting and uncomfortable. Usually it’s the female patient who has the leakage, and it’s actually more bothersome for her than for her partner.

Tips for Getting Your Groove Back
There are some things you can do to ward off discomfort or embarrassment during sex.

Talk about it. First, know that your partner will probably be a lot more understanding than you expect. Then bring it up before you have intercourse. Plan and prepare for sex, just as you do for bedtime. Double-void, cut back on fluids, and avoid foods and beverages that are likely to irritate your bladder. This means passing up that romantic glass of wine to get you in the mood.

Keep up the Kegels. Doing these several times a day — and even during intercourse — will help prevent urine leakage during sex.
All of these approaches can help you manage your overactive bladder at night, letting you get a better night’s sleep and have a more active and satisfying sex life.
Bottom Line: An overactive bladder can wreck havoc with sleep, your sex life, and your entire life. I suggest you try these few self-help ideas. If they do not resolve the problem, then contact your doctor, urologist or gynecologist. Help is available. You don’t have to be embarrassed and tired because your overactive bladder is controlling your life.

This article has been modified from “Putting an Overactive Bladder to Bed-Insights for Good Sleep and Good Sex”
By Gina Shaw
http://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/oab-11/sex-and-sleep

When You Gotta Go-Putting a Brake On The Overactive Bladder

August 18, 2011

You’ve seen the ads on T.V. and if you have an overactive bladder you can relate to those women who an intense urge to go to the restroom immediately and if you aren’t able to make it in time you will pee on yourself. This is a great source of embarrassment and can even make women social reclusive.
Urge incontinence occurs when an overactive bladder spasms or contracts at the wrong times. You may leak urine when you sleep or feel the need to pee after drinking a little water, even though you know your bladder isn’t full. This sensation can be a result of nerve damage or abnormal signals from the nerves to the brain. Medical conditions and certain medications — such as diuretics – can aggravate it.
Whatever the source, you don’t have to feel that your OAB symptoms are beyond your control or that they are controlling your life. In fact, you may be able to take control over them just by making some changes in your everyday behavior. Try these practical tips to get started.
Start by eliminating bladder irritants such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. All of these irritate the bladder. Caffeine also acts as a diuretic, meaning it causes you to urinate more. Cutting out the big three can be tough. Try these strategies:
Think about how much water you drink. This can be difficult in New Orleans where we lose so much water through sweating and we are thirsty and have to replenish the excess water loss. Drink plain water when you’re thirsty, from four to eight 8-ounce glasses a day. You’ll know you’re drinking enough if your urine is light yellow or almost colorless. Sip water throughout the day, instead of gulping down a lot at one time. If you take a diuretic, like Lasix or hydrochlorothiazide, try taking the diuretic in the morning. That way you should be able to empty your bladder by bedtime.

In addition to cutting down or eliminating alcohol and caffeine drinks, limiting other foods or beverages may help OAB. Try cutting back on:
Acidic foods and beverages, such as tomatoes, pineapple, and citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes
Salty foods, which can make you thirstier and make you drink more liquids
Spicy foods, such as chilies, which can irritate the bladder
Carbonated beverages, such as sodas or seltzer

It’s possible to retrain your bladder to hold more urine for longer periods of time. Better muscle control can also help. Ask your doctor for a specific plan and stick with it — it can take up to three months to see results. These strategies may be part of your plan:
Exercises that combat the overactive bladder. Kegels strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that hold up the bladder. They also help reconnect nerve impulse communication between the bladder and the brain. To do them, lie on your bed or the floor and squeeze the pelvic muscles as if you were trying to prevent passing gas from your rectum. Hold the contraction for a count of three; then relax for a count of three. Do Kegels three times a day for five minutes at a time.

Tension, diet, and being overweight can all contribute to urinary incontinence. The good news is that you can do something about all three:
Eat more vegetables and fiber. Fiber helps you avoid constipation, which may help reduce pressure on your bladder.
Reduce tension. Tense situations can make you to feel as if you need to pee Deep breathing exercises are one of the tools that can ease tension.
Exercise. If you’re overweight, losing weight will keep extra pounds from adding to the pressure on your bladder. Exercise may aggravate stress incontinence, though.
When you need to go, then go. Holding back too much can create other problems. For example, teachers and nurses may have bladder problems because they wait too long between bathroom breaks.

Bottom Line: Though urge incontinence is uncomfortable, it’s also very treatable. Changes in your lifestyle and habits can play a part in treating it.

This blog has been modified from: Urge Incontinence: Tips for Daily Life, By Louise Chang, MD