How to Stay Active with COPD
How to Stay Active when You Have an Overactive Bladder
Having an overactive bladder can make you hesitant about doing anything. As soon as you go out and get active, you may have the urge to urinate. Having an overactive bladder doesn’t have to cause you to give up doing things you love. To stay active with an overactive bladder, be prepared when you go out by spreading out what you drink, avoiding bladder triggers, and keeping a bathroom schedule. You can also wear protective pads and talk to your doctor about medication.
Being Prepared When Active
Stay hydrated.You may feel like limiting your fluids is the obvious solution. However, staying hydrated is vital. Remember, you may want to limit your intake so you are not drinking too much.
- When you drink, limit the drink to between six to eight ounces. Drink every hour or two.
- Monitor the color of your urine. If it is light yellow or almost colorless, you are properly hydrated. It if it a darker color, you need to drink more.
Avoid bladder trigger drinks.Make sure to drink the right kinds of fluids. Avoid beverages that will trigger your bladder by increasing the urge to urinate. Don’t drink fluids containing caffeine, alcohol, or artificial sweeteners.
- Instead, try drinking plenty of water while you are out.
Avoid bladder trigger foods.There are also some foods that you should avoid if you have an overactive bladder. These foods include:
- Acidic foods, like citrus and tomatoes, or any foods that contain citrus or tomato products.
- Spicy foods, like those that contain hot peppers or wasabi.
- Foods that contain artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, or any other artificial sweeteners.
- Chocolate, such as candy, pudding, or brownies.
- Salty foods, such as potato chips, canned soup, or other processed foods that contain a lot of sodium.
Make bathroom visits at regular intervals.You should schedule regular bathroom breaks while out. This helps you make sure to keep your bladder emptied often enough that you shouldn’t get too many urges.
- For example, you may schedule a bathroom trip every two hours. Depending on how overactive your bladder is, you may need more or less frequent trips.
Urinate when you’re near a bathroom.Go to the bathroom to urinate whenever you are near one. Though you may have a bathroom schedule, going when bathrooms are available can help. This may be important if you are going to unknown places where you do not know where bathrooms are.
- Even if you don’t feel the urge yet, go to the bathroom and void what you can.
- You can find bathrooms using an app, like SitOrSquat, that lists the bathrooms in your area.
Learn to travel smartly.You may not want to travel due to your urges. This doesn't have to keep you at home. You can easily get to bathrooms in airports and on planes. If you are driving, you can stop at rest stops or find fast food restaurants along the road.
- You can wear a protective liner as you sight see and enjoy your trip. This way, if you have a small accident, you will be protected.
- Space out your beverages. Don't guzzle down water, but drink when you feel thirsty.
- Use the bathroom whenever you come across one. This can help ensure that you use all of your available bathrooms. Many restaurants and convenience stores have public bathrooms.
Try protective liners.If you have an overactive bladder, you can try protective liners. These are easily available at drugstores and protect against mild to moderate accidents. By wearing a protective liner, you can get active without worrying about an accident.
- Pads that absorb any leakage are available for both men and women. These pads are disposable and held in your underwear with an adhesive strip. Many of these pads can hold up to eight ounces of urine. They also help block odor.
Wear leakage-protecting underwear.If your overactive bladder causes frequent accidents or the overactive bladder is moderate to severe, you may consider wearing underwear designed to help. Some underwear are disposable, and come with an elastic band or adjustable tape on the sides.
- There are reusable underwear that has a leakage proof line and an absorbent pad designed to absorb more than 10 ounces of urine. These underwear are washable. They help pull moisture away from your skin and reduce odor.
Try male guards.If you are male, there are a few products you can use to help with any leakage while you are active. Male guards are sleeve-like products that you place over the tip of the penis to collect any light leakage.
Contact your doctor.An overactive bladder is not an unfortunate side effect of aging. It is a symptom, not a disease, and should be seen by a doctor. Overactive bladders may be due to medication or diet. Treatments are available for overactive bladders.
- If an overactive bladder has started interfering with your everyday life, you should make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. You may then be referred to a specialist.
- Say to your doctor, "I am having some bladder problems. I have the urge to urinate often, and it interferes with my life" or "I have minor leakage from my bladder. This keeps me from doing things or going out."
Take medication.When you go to the doctor, your doctor can give you medication to help with an overactive bladder. These medications control or relax the contractions of your bladder. Talk to your doctor about whether medication is right for you.
- For males, overactive bladder problems may be caused by the prostate. Your doctor may prescribe medication that helps shrink the prostate.
Do Kegel exercises.Kegel exercises help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. This can help protect from leakage and reduce the urge to urinate. To complete Kegel exercises, you should tighten your pelvic floor muscles and hold them for 10 seconds. Do 10 to 20 reps five times each day.
- To find the right muscles, stop your urine in midstream. Those are your pelvic floor muscles.
- When you get the “urge to go” feeling, squeeze and relax these muscles as quickly as possible. This sends a message to your brain. Do this several times. As your bladder stops squeezing and begins to relax, the feeling of needing to urinate should lessen.
- Keep in mind that OAB is not the same thing as incontinence. OAB is a condition where you have an uncontrollable urge to urinate, while incontinence is when you accidentally leak urine while doing things like laughing, sneezing, or exercising.Talk to your doctor if you are unsure about which problem best describes your situation.
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