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What Can Be Done for an Overactive Bladder?

What Can Be Done for an Overactive Bladder?There are many things one can do to help with the symptoms of an overactive bladder. As always, a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition, exercise and plenty of rest is an excellent place to start. We are far from understanding all the mind body connections that exist. Many people report an increase in the frequency of urination and other bladder difficulties during times of increased emotional stress. Various strategies exist for dealing with overactive bladder.

Behavioral Techniques

A major advantage of behavioral techniques lies in the fact that they have been shown to be effective, have no side effects and in no way limit future treatment options. One of these techniques is known as Bladder Training. This involves learning how to recognize and then inhibit the sensation of needing to urinate. The idea is to become more aware of the symptoms in an effort to learn to be able to exert more control over them. The goals of Bladder Training are twofold:
  • To increase the amount of time between emptying your bladder
  • To increase the amount of fluid your bladder can hold.

A fixed bathroom schedule must be established, even if the need to urinate is not present. If the urge to urinate happens before the next scheduled time, techniques to suppress or put off the urge must be used. Techniques to suppress the urge to urinate include relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and focusing upon relaxation of muscles outside the pelvic floor. As one is successful in meeting the schedule, the time between bathroom trips is lengthened by 5 or 10 minute increments, until one is able to wait approximately 3 hours between voiding.

Steps for Bladder Training

  • Empty your bladder at the specific time intervals you have set, whether or not you feel the need to urinate. This applies only during waking hours.
  • If the urge to urinate arises before the scheduled time, use suppression techniques such as deep breathing to allow the sensation to pass. Do not panic.
  • If you are unsuccessful in delaying and must urinate ahead of schedule, make your way to the bathroom slowly and then start the process over.
  • When you are able to meet your time interval consistently over a period of a week, increase the interval by 5 or 10 minutes. Continue in this way until you are able to go 3 hours between voiding, or a length of time that seems reasonable to you.


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