What Can Help Urge Incontinence?
Urge incontinence is difficult to prevent, although there are ways to help.
Using Physical Therapy, Pelvic Floor/Kegels for Urge Incontinence
One major help with urge incontinence is pelvic floor physiotherapy or pelvic floor exercises. Otherwise referred to as Kegels, these exercises will help you gain better control over your pelvic floor which contracts and relaxes depending on whether you need to urinate or not.
When you relax your pelvic floor, you are able to pass urine out through your urethra. When you contract your pelvic floor, it stops the flow of urine. However, when your pelvic floor muscles are weaker they won’t be able to stop the flow of urine when you want them to.
Practicing pelvic floor exercises will help you find your muscles and know when they are contracted or relaxed. There are many benefits to pelvic floor exercises, as well as seeing a physiotherapist to help keep you on track with your progress.
Deep Breathing, and Anxiety and Stress Reducing Exercises
Another way to help with urge incontinence is with slow breathing exercises. Research shows that OAB is associated with self-reported increased anxiety and stress as well as abnormal autonomic nervous system behaviors (the part of the nervous system that controls bodily functions that are not consciously controlled).
Methods of reducing anxiety and stress, such as slow breathing techniques, may be able to help reduce OAB. Being able to slow down your breathing to 5-10 times per minute for about 10 minutes a day reported being may decrease your anxiety and stress, but also may decrease your overactive bladder symptoms, specifically urge incontinence, as it is related to autonomic control.
Breathing from your stomach as opposed to your chest is also beneficial in that you’re not holding down your stomach muscles while your lungs expand. This can cause unwanted stress in the abdominal region that is attributed to an overactive bladder, as the whole abdomen sits on the pelvic floor muscles.
Last but not least is nocturia. Nocturia is waking up more than one time throughout the night, disturbing your sleep cycle, to go use the washroom. This ties all the symptoms together as nocturia is related to frequency in that the frequent urination doesn’t stop after waking hours are over.
Frequent urination can follow us into the night. However, nocturia occurs when we wake up to experience the frequent urination. It stops being nocturia and starts being nocturnal enuresis when we don’t wake up to use the washroom, otherwise known as adult bedwetting.
Both nocturia and nocturnal enuresis can happen together, but one does not cause the other. Nocturia is also very common the older you get, and may not include all the other symptoms of OAB.
Having nocturia can cause you to have a disrupted sleep which ends up making you tired in the morning.
Avoid Coffee, Instead Drink Water
Those who are tired usually reach for something to perk them up, such as coffee. Coffee is a diuretic, as mentioned before, and will dehydrate you and you will expel the water that you need in your body.
Drinking more water to outweigh the coffee that was just ingested will help keep you hydrated, but you will have to urinate more. OAB is known for being a vicious circle of symptoms that just feed into each other.
Nocturia may be the last symptom, but it also may be the first. It depends on how you look at it. Keeping all the other symptoms in check will help with those overactive bladder symptoms, but probably not with nocturia, as you cannot be awake to control those functions.
Can Nocturia be Prevented?
To help prevent nocturia, it is recommended that you keep drinking fluids like water all throughout the day but stop a few hours before bedtime. As well as avoiding beverages like coffee or alcohol, especially before bedtime.
Another thing to aid in lessening nocturia is losing weight surrounding your abdomen as excess weight puts pressure on your bladder.
Overall, it is your life you are living, and gaining some control over your bladder again is a good thing. Whatever makes you the most confident is something that you should invest your time in, whether its new medication, a procedure, or surgery, or nothing at all, be happy in what you decide to do for your health.
What we know about OAB is that it is a chronic condition that has no apparent cause and has no apparent cure. There are things that help some people, and other people need to go to the extreme to find relief from their symptoms. Small lifestyle changes can have a big impact on your OAB, but it is also recommended to see your doctor for it, in the event of other health concerns.
In a perfect world, everyone would be able to follow these tips and tricks and have a better grip on their OAB. Unfortunately, OAB is not a condition that is fair to your world, you, or your social life. Some sacrifices may need to be made if we are looking for a mild to medium relief in OAB symptoms.
There is no guarantee that OAB will go away with help, or with time. It might be recurrent, and it might come to us later in life. Some of us are born with OAB and bladder related issues.
OAB is a tricky, very common, but not well-known beast that simply will not go away. It is awkward to talk about, and it is awkward to have. However, if you have OAB, it is something you may live with for a very long time, so it is a good idea to become familiar with your symptoms to notice if anything changes, and how certain lifestyle changes can help.
OAB is almost never discussed in social circles, and it is something that should be. Bringing more attention to the problem could help others realize they are not struggling alone. If OAB brings people together to commiserate and share experiences and ways of handling it, then there is some good in this bad situation.
Remember not everyone experiences OAB in the same way. Some people have only one or two overactive bladder symptoms that control them, while others have all and then some. But no matter what, OAB is a chronic condition that affects your bladder and there is help out there to find relief of your symptoms. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.