Your bladder doesn’t have to run your life. Experts share their tips for getting a handle on overactive bladder, whether it’s through lifestyle changes, bladder retraining, or medications.
Dr. Jill Rabin: A treatment plan for OAB (overactive bladder), first of all, starts with going to the doctor, having them take a history, do a physical exam, make a diagnosis. Dr. Seth Cohen: So, I always start with lifestyle modification first, and then I go into other treatment methods. Angela: For me, my approach was to try the therapy first, and that’s when I really learned a lot about the condition and how it could be managed. Dr. Seth Cohen: A lot of patients will tell me, “I’m going to the bathroom every 15 minutes. If I feel that urge to go to the bathroom I just go,” and the problem with that is you’re sort of giving in to the bladder. Now you’re living life based on what the bladder wants you to do. So, what we try to teach our patents is bladder retraining. Dr. Jill Rabin: You start to go to the bathroom, let’s say every two hours, or every two to three hours. Eventually, your bladder will get used to being ruled by your brain or your mind. Eddie: The least amount of treatment helped me out. I can’t say that’s going to be for everybody, but give it a try. Dr. Jill Rabin: Nutrition affects OAB, because nutrition affects everything. Nutrition, what we eat, controls how our brain functions, and our brain controls how our body functions. Angela: Tomato paste, for me, irritates my bladder. Deanna: Caffeine, chocolate, tea- Dr. Jill Rabin: Alcohol or hot pepper, hot foods. Dr. Seth Cohen: If it affects your bowels it’s going to affect your bladder as well. Deanna: So, I just try to stay away from the triggers. Dr. Jill Rabin: Additionally, we may teach patients what we call Kegel exercises- Dr. Seth Cohen: Where you’re strengthening your pelvic floor, which is sitting right underneath your bladder. Angela: You want to make sure you’re moving the right area. Dr. Jill Rabin: Hold the pelvic floor up tight for a count of three to five ‘Mississippi.’ Dr. Seth Cohen: While you’re sitting or relaxing, take a deep breath. Dr. Jill Rabin: One Mississippi, two Mississippi, etc. And then you relax the pelvic floor. Angela: Doing them in sets and correctly and consistently is key to getting that muscle stronger. Dr. Jill Rabin: Other treatments include medications- Dr. Seth Cohen: All these medications essentially work in the same fashion. They relax the muscle of the bladder and allow the bladder to fill and relax instead of being overactive and wobbling so much. Eddie: It controls that great urge, like you’ve always got to go. Dr. Seth Cohen: And it just allows them to live their life as they were living before. Dr. Jill Rabin: If further treatment is needed, there’s now a pacemaker. Dr. Seth Cohen: We implant a little device, it goes in the back. Dr. Jill Rabin: And there’s a tiny wire that goes to a nerve that governs the bladder. Dr. Seth Cohen: We can now control the voiding and the storage phases of urination. Dr. Jill Rabin: We can do so much to help you to leak less and to have control over your life. Angela: Listen, overactive bladder. You didn’t take over me. I took over you.