The Importance of Coping Skills for OAB

Negative Coping With OAB

Staying Away From Friends

You may think that your friends will be better off without you along because your OAB is such an inconvenience. You will convince yourself that the selfless act is to stay at home. In fact, this is an example of depression changing your thoughts to keep you more depressed.

Skipping Doctors Appointments

Your treatment has not yielded positive results to this point. You are frustrated and feel more hopeless that your symptoms will ever change, so you have been missing your doctors’ appointments.  You forget the fact that without treatment, there is no chance for your OAB to improve.

Quitting Your Job

You have had so many embarrassing moments at work that you cannot possibly bear the weight of another. Clearly, quitting your job seems easy and beneficial in the short-term, but the social and financial loss will outweigh whatever negatives you are currently experiencing.

Positive Coping With OAB

Many times, you can look at the negative coping skills as a guide for what not to do, but use caution; the opposite of a negative coping skill is not necessarily a positive.  Working to move towards balance will give you the best results. Here’s how:

Improve Self-Acceptance

Acceptance of your situation will set the stage for other positive coping skills to come. People with OAB live in denial because admitting their condition to others and themselves is scary and painful. Of course, you realize you have OAB, but have you really come to terms with the implications of this?


Accepting your status means that you accept yourself.  Stress becomes instantly reduced with self-acceptance.

Improve Communication

With self-acceptance, you can work to reduce the perceived stigma of your condition. Choose to speak about OAB openly, honesty and genuinely. Allow people to ask questions about your symptoms, your hopes and your fears. The easy thing to do is avoid direct communication for fear that it might be uncomfortable. Communication is difficult to master, but once you do, you will have a skill that is useful in countless situations.

Improve Activity

Negative coping skills tell you that it is easy to escape than to engage. This is true but it is not best for you. Work to expand your comfort zone by agreeing to go places and do things that may trigger some anxiety or stress. This temporary discomfort will be worth it over time.

Use your new communication skills to voice your hopes and concerns to your friends.  They may have information or offer suggestions that will greatly improve your chances of success.

Improve Your Goals

Speaking of success, it is valuable to reexamine your goals. How are you measuring success and failure with your OAB? If you expect to never have periods of strong urges or instances of incontinence, you will likely be let down and disappointed.

Set yourself up for success through kindness and understanding.  Setting reasonable goals will ensure that you can accomplish them through hard work.  Completing goals helps you to feel motivated, powerful and in control of your symptoms.  Everyone likes to feel this way.

Improve Monitoring

As mentioned above, being overly rigid and inflexible is harmful to your OAB. The stress associated with that can actually make symptoms worse.  Furthermore, it is extremely challenging to accurately manage your fluid intake since the fluid levels found in foods like fruits are really hard to measure.  Focus your energies on following your doctor’s recommendations.

Improve Your Relaxation

Working to reduce the unwanted facets of your life through positive coping skills is wonderful but not always enough. Another type of positive coping skills is one that adds more desirable thoughts and feelings. Relaxations are an efficient use of your time and resources. The benefit of relaxation is two-fold as you get the direct result of less stress and tension in your life.

The indirect results is that relaxations techniques like guided imagery, muscle relaxation, and autogenic training have been associated with better OAB symptoms management.

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