Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

These lifestyle strategies may reduce overactive bladder symptoms:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. If you're overweight, losing weight may ease your symptoms. Heavier people are also at greater risk of stress urinary incontinence, which may improve with weight loss.
  • Don't restrict fluid. Ask your doctor how much fluid you need daily. If you don't drink enough, your urine becomes concentrated and can irritate the lining of your bladder. This increases the urge to urinate.
  • Limit foods and drinks that might irritate your bladder. Substances that may irritate the bladder include: caffeine, alcohol, apples, carbonated drinks, chocolate, citrus juice and fruit, chocolate, corn syrup, cranberries, spicy foods, honey, milk, sugar, artificial sweeteners, tea, tomatoes, and vinegar. If any of these worsen your symptoms, it might be wise to avoid them.

Coping and support

Living with overactive bladder can be difficult. Consumer education and advocacy support groups such as the National Association for Continence can provide you with online resources and information, connecting you with people who experience overactive bladder and urge incontinence. Support groups offer the opportunity to voice concerns, learn new coping strategies and stay motivated to maintain self-care strategies.

Educating your family and friends about overactive bladder and your experiences with it may help you establish your own support network and reduce feelings of embarrassment. Once you start talking about it, you may be surprised to learn how common this condition really is.

Prevention

These healthy lifestyle choices may reduce your risk of overactive bladder:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Get regular, daily physical activity and exercise.
  • Limit consumption of caffeine and alcohol.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes, that might contribute to overactive bladder symptoms.
  • Learn where your pelvic floor muscles are and then strengthen them by doing Kegel exercises — tighten (contract) muscles, hold the contraction for two seconds and relax muscles for three seconds. Work up to holding the contraction for five seconds and then 10 seconds at a time. Do three sets of 10 repetitions each day.