Posted by: Thixia | January 16, 2009

Overactive Bladder 5 of 6

I feel too embarrassed to talk to my healthcare provider about my bladder symptoms.  What can I do?

 

Answered by our expert Jennifer Skelly, Nurse Continence Advisor

 

Keep in mind that OAB is a treatable medical condition that affects many men and women.  Explore ways to approach your healthcare provider, such as writing down your questions.  Consider joining an online chat group to talk to others about ways to get over your embarrassment and speak to your doctor.  You can also contact the Canadian Continence Foundation for support. 

 

Answered by our expert Dr.  Pommerville, Urologist

 

Many people with OAB feel embarrassed about their symptoms, to the point where they avoid social activities and know the locations of all the washrooms in town.  Often, they don’t mention their symptoms to their doctor because they’re embarrassed or they think that they just have to live with OAB.  But this isn’t true: OAB is nothing to be embarrassed about, and a lot can be done to treat this condition.  That’s why it’s so important to talk to your doctor about your OAB symptoms.  It’s the first step towards getting back to your regular activities. 

 

 

 

Is there anything I can do myself (e.g., lifestyle changes) that could help me cope with OAB?

 

Answered by our expert Jennifer Skelly, Nurse Continence Advisor

Yes.  The best way to start is by taking a look at your fluid and caffeine intake. 

Drinking too much caffeine is one of the most common causes of urgency (voiding accompanied by an urgent feeling that you need to go to the bathroom) and frequency (very frequent voiding, usually more than 8 times per day).  Keep a record of which fluids you drink and how much of each fluid you consume in a day.  If caffeine makes up more than 20% of your fluid intake, look at ways to reduce your caffeine intake, such as switching to decaf beverages or drinking water instead of caffeinated beverages.  As well, limit your intake of diet pop, as it contains a sweetener that irritates the bladder lining, causing frequency and urgency.

 

The other common reason for urgency and frequency is not consuming enough fluid.  People may think that if they drink less, they’ll go to the bathroom less often.  But reducing your fluid intake drastically can actually make things worse.  Your urine will become more concentrated and more irritating in smaller amounts.  This can lead to a smaller bladder capacity (the amount of urine the bladder can hold before you feel the urge to urinate), urgency and frequency, and an increased risk of bladder infection.  Be sure to get about 6-8 glasses of fluid per day.

 

Answered by our expert Dr.  Pommerville, Urologist

 

Yes, there are many lifestyle changes that can help you manage your OAB.  Weight loss and exercise may help with your symptoms.  If you’re a heavy smoker, it’s important to quit.  Heavy coffee drinkers should limit their intake.  And don’t forget that some carbonated beverages contain a lot of caffeine.  Keeping a voiding diary is an excellent way to keep track of your fluid and caffeine intake, and may help you and your doctor identify lifestyle issues that could be affecting your symptoms.

 

With a voiding diary, you write down how much fluid you consume and how much you are urinating each day, usually for 3 to 5 days.  After keeping a voiding diary, many people notice that they’re drinking too much fluid.  A voiding diary is also a great way to check your response to OAB treatment.  By doing a voiding diary before you start treatment and then another a few months later, you can see how much your symptoms have changed.

 

 

 

Is there anything I can do myself (e.g., lifestyle changes) that could help me cope with OAB?

 

Answered by our expert Jennifer Skelly, Nurse Continence Advisor

 

Yes.  The best way to start is by taking a look at your fluid and caffeine intake. 

 

Drinking too much caffeine is one of the most common causes of urgency (voiding accompanied by an urgent feeling that you need to go to the bathroom) and frequency (very frequent voiding, usually more than 8 times per day).  Keep a record of which fluids you drink and how much of each fluid you consume in a day.  If caffeine makes up more than 20% of your fluid intake, look at ways to reduce your caffeine intake, such as switching to decaf beverages or drinking water instead of caffeinated beverages.  As well, limit your intake of diet pop, as it contains a sweetener that irritates the bladder lining, causing frequency and urgency.

 

The other common reason for urgency and frequency is not consuming enough fluid.  People may think that if they drink less, they’ll go to the bathroom less often.  But reducing your fluid intake drastically can actually make things worse.  Your urine will become more concentrated and more irritating in smaller amounts.  This can lead to a smaller bladder capacity (the amount of urine the bladder can hold before you feel the urge to urinate), urgency and frequency, and an increased risk of bladder infection.  Be sure to get about 6-8 glasses of fluid per day.

 

Answered by our expert Dr.  Pommerville, Urologist

 

Yes, there are many lifestyle changes that can help you manage your OAB.  Weight loss and exercise may help with your symptoms.  If you’re a heavy smoker, it’s important to quit.  Heavy coffee drinkers should limit their intake.  And don’t forget that some carbonated beverages contain a lot of caffeine.  Keeping a voiding diary is an excellent way to keep track of your fluid and caffeine intake, and may help you and your doctor identify lifestyle issues that could be affecting your symptoms.

 

With a voiding diary, you write down how much fluid you consume and how much you are urinating each day, usually for 3 to 5 days.  After keeping a voiding diary, many people notice that they’re drinking too much fluid.  A voiding diary is also a great way to check your response to OAB treatment.  By doing a voiding diary before you start treatment and then another a few months later, you can see how much your symptoms have changed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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