A pressing problem
Let’s face it: an overactive bladder (OAB) can be very inconvenient. It’s uncomfortable. It sends you searching for the bathroom more often than you’d like. It interrupts your activities. It may lead to episodes of incontinence and feelings of embarrassment.
But what if a few simple exercises could help you overcome your OAB symptoms? Check out our tips to help treat this condition.
To help treat OAB, try adding Kegel exercises to your daily routine. Kegel repetitions can strengthen your bladder muscles and improve your bladder control.
To perform Kegel exercises, simply squeeze the muscles of your pelvic floor. If you’re unsure how to isolate these muscles, stop urinating mid-stream the next time you go to the bathroom. The muscles you use to cut off your urine are the same ones you should tighten during Kegel exercises.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases(NIDDKD) recommends holding each “squeeze” for three seconds. Gradually build up to three sets of 10 repetitions every day.
A technique called biofeedback can help you do Kegel exercises more effectively. In biofeedback, your doctor uses computer graphs and audio cues to identify which muscles you’re contracting during Kegel exercises. If you’re contracting the wrong muscles, your doctor will help you find and engage the right ones for better results.
Bladder training can also help OAB symptoms. This exercise trains your bladder to hold more urine before you empty it. When your bladder can hold more urine, you can wait longer between bathroom visits.
First, determine how often you urinate in an average day. After you’ve identified this baseline, train your bladder to hold more urine by waiting as long as possible between bathroom breaks, even if it’s uncomfortable. After several weeks of practice, you should be able to extend the time between your bathroom visits.
Electrical stimulation may also help you gain control of your bladder.
In this treatment, a temporary wire or implanted electrode is used to deliver electrical impulses to your bladder. These signals cause your bladder muscles to contract, which can help strengthen the muscles over time.
Vaginal cones act as a weight-training tool for your pelvic floor muscles.
To start, place a cone inside your vagina. Use your pelvic floor muscles to lift it. After you can hold lighter cones without discomfort, you can train your muscles to lift heavier cones. Your pelvic floor muscles will strengthen throughout this process.
There are many reasons to add OAB exercises to your daily routine. Kegel exercises and other bladder-strengthening activities can help you gain control of your bladder, reduce your symptoms, and avoid potentially embarrassing accidents. They may also lower your risk of associated complications, such as disrupted sleep and emotional distress. If you still struggle to control your bladder after trying these exercises, talk to your doctor. They may encourage you to combine these techniques with medication or other treatments.