Urge Incontinence/Over Active Bladder Treatment


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Dietary changes

Those suffering from an overactive bladder (also known as urge incontinence) are advised to maintain a healthy diet and continue drinking plenty of fluids. Many sufferers may think that by restricting their fluid intake they therefore reduce the frequency with which they have to pass urine, but although this limits the volume of urine produced, the urine is then highly concentrated. This may cause irritation to the bladder and actually increase the urge to go to the toilet.

Drinking too much can also be problematic, and so it is best to spread your liquid intake out over the day, rather than simply drinking a lot at meal times. If you limit your fluid intake after 6pm, and decrease your alcohol and caffeine intake entirely, this may help to eradicate or greatly decrease the symptoms of an overactive bladder.

It may also help improve the symptoms of urge incontinence to cut out certain types of food – tomato based foods, fruit and fruit juices, and spicy foods can sometimes exacerbate the problems of an overactive bladder.

Bladder training

In addition to making dietary changes, the best treatment for urge incontinence is to train the bladder to increase its capacity by performing bladder drills. Bladder drills stretch the bladder so that people with an overactive bladder should have more time between feeling the urge to urinate and having to do so. A doctor or incontinence specialist can explain how to do bladder drills.

Your doctor may recommend that you visit a specialist for a course in bladder training. This is designed to increase your ability to hold on to urine after experiencing the urge to urinate, and a standard course will last for six weeks.

Medication & Surgery

A further option for those suffering from urge incontinence is to take medication to block nerve impulses in the bladder. There are various different drugs which will serve this purpose, but they can have side effects including blurred vision or constipation, and so a doctor will consider this when prescribing medication.

When urge incontinence is caused by nerve damage, such as in patients with spinal cord injuries, sometimes the detrusor muscle in the bladder contracts uncontrollably, forcing out urine. If this cannot be treated by any other method, such as bladder training, surgery may be considered as an option. In such circumstances, surgeons will make an artificial bladder which is not subject to the same muscle spasms.