Dealing with the constant urge to urinate can be frustrating, annoying and even embarrassing. Frequent urination can force sufferers to plan their lives around the next time they have to go.
According to the National Association for Continence, “An estimated 33 million people in the USA alone are dealing with an Overactive Bladder … And half of the people with Overactive Bladder are struggling with Urgency Urinary Incontinence (UUI), when leakage actually occurs.”
A strong and sudden desire to urinate is one sign of an overactive bladder. Symptoms include urinating more than eight times a day and more than once at night.
An overactive bladder can cramp your style, but it doesn’t have to. Here are five tips to take control over your trips to the bathroom.
Tips to Manage Frequent Urination
1. Take note of what you drink.
Alcohol and beverages with caffeine such as coffee, tea and soft drinks are diuretics and can increase the frequency of urination. According to Ariana Smith, urologist and associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania, “Eight ounces of coffee seem to be harder on the bladder than 8 ounces of water, so go with water.”
2. Exercise your pelvic muscles.
Flex the muscles surrounding your lower bladder and urethra to strengthen them. With an empty bladder, practice tightening your pelvic floor, hold for five seconds and then relax. Work your way up to 10 seconds. These are called Kegel exercises. According to the Mayo Clinic, “For best results, focus on tightening only your pelvic floor muscles. Be careful not to flex the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Avoid holding your breath. Instead, breathe freely during the exercises.”
3. Change your diet.
Adjust your diet and decrease foods that act as bladder irritants. Some foods such as apples, cranberries, and citrus fruits and juices can increase urination. Here’s a list of bladder irritants. Tomato-based foods and spicy foods also can be the cause of an increased urge to urinate.
4. Manage medications.
Muscle relaxants, sedatives, antidepressants and blood pressure drugs can trigger an overactive bladder. You may want to make adjustments to the time of day when you take certain medications, according to Sandra Valaitis, an expert at treating urinary incontinence at the University of Chicago Medicine.
5. See your doctor.
If your urge to urinate seems out of control, it is time to consult your doctor. If there is no beverage or food link to your urges, or the issue is disruptive to your everyday movements, or you have other problematic symptoms or pain, it’s also time to consult a doctor.
According to the Mayo Clinic, you should contact your doctor if you experience frequent urination along with any of the following signs and symptoms they have listed on their website.
- Blood in your urine
- Red or dark brown urine
- Painful urination
- Pain in your side, lower abdomen or groin
- Difficulty urinating or emptying your bladder
- A strong urge to urinate
- Loss of bladder control
These symptoms are signs of urinary tract disorders and may be a warning of other, more serious health conditions. If symptoms persist, it is best to seek medical advice to get to the cause so that a treatment plan can be formulated.