Medication to Fight Sleep Disruptions
Pelvic floor strengthening exercises are helpful in any OAB management plan, but it can take months for you to notice improvement, and sometimes they just are not quite enough to keep you comfortable and confident.
When you begin to lose sleep because of your urge incontinence, you may want to turn to proven pharmaceutical helpers before the sleepiness becomes a more serious problem.
- Anticholinergics. The most common class of drugs used to treat OAB, anticholinergics work by suppressing the bladder spasms that bring on the urge to urinate. Happily, side effects are generally mild, with the most common being dry mouth, and rarely will these drugs interfere with your sleep patterns.
- Hormones. An estrogen supplement can help in cases where OAB results from weak supportive muscles around the bladder, but desmopressin may be more helpful when it comes to beating nighttime bladder issues. This synthetic hormone mimics a naturally-occurring hormone that controls urine production – the more desmopressin in your bloodstream, the less urge you have to urinate.
- Antidepressants. The tricyclic class of antidepressants (such as imipramine) tightens the muscles at the neck of the bladder, but relaxes the bladder itself. In turn, you feel less urge to urinate, and since the main side effect is sleepiness, it can help you get the shut-eye you need. But not all antidepressants are created equal: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can interfere with REM sleep, and cause daytime drowsiness.
Good Sleep Hygiene for OAB
Although fluids are important to dilute your urine and prevent bladder irritation, you should stop drinking water at least three hours before bed to ensure a dry night.
When it comes to caffeine and alcohol, be even stricter with yourself: if you do not want to eliminate them altogether, at least limit your consumption to one serving a day, and enjoy it well before bed.
Your OAB bedtime routine will involve different steps than the average person, but if you can stick to your plan and closely monitor your habits, you should be able to put yourself at an advantage.
First, examine your medications closely, and speak to your doctor about possible alternatives that will not interfere with your sleep. Time diuretic medications appropriately, and keep a journal to track what you drink, when you drink, and how much you urinate, which should help you understand how and where you can make positive changes.