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The causes of overactive bladder (OAB) make it often unavoidable. This includes involuntary muscle contractions as a result of a neurological disorder or obstruction. Preventing the condition can be difficult. Treating OAB often begins with lifestyle changes. These changes are aimed at reducing symptoms. OAB prevention focuses on reducing the risk or prevalence of these symptoms by making changes to avoid the triggers that cause them.
Fluid intake obviously affects how often you urinate. By controlling the amount of fluids you drink, you may be able to control the frequency and timing of urination. Your doctor can prescribe a plan that details the amount and timing of your fluid consumption. This will ensure that you aren’t drinking too much or too little. It could also complement a bladder-training treatment plan.
Your fluid intake schedule could be as detailed as a daily schedule broken into hourly increments and prescribing a certain amount of fluids at certain times of day. It could also be as simple as avoiding fluids an hour before having to leave the house or before an important event.
According to the National Association for Continence, caffeine, alcohol, and citrus have been proven to exacerbate the symptoms of OAB. This isn’t just because they are often consumed in liquid form. Caffeine is a stimulant and speeds all the body’s processes. So limiting the intake of fluids like coffee, soda (especially those with caffeine), citrus juice, and alcoholic beverages could help in controlling OAB symptoms. Reducing the consumption of foods, medications, and supplements with these components may also help.
Constipation can trigger or worsen OAB symptoms. A diet of fiber-rich foods can help maintain a healthy digestive tract and lower the risk of constipation. Furthermore, fiber is essential to maintaining a healthy weight, which also helps to manage OAB symptoms. Fiber-rich foods include whole grains, legumes, and dark green vegetables.
Acidic foods like citrus fruits and tomatoes can irritate the bladder and worsen the symptoms of OAB. Spicy foods can do the same. Limit these foods considerably if you cannot eliminate them completely.
Excess weight can cause a number of health problems, including an increased risk of OAB. Research has shown that losing weight can decrease the severity and frequency of symptoms in obese people with OAB. Maintaining a healthy weight through exercise and a balanced diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Your
Written by: the Healthline Editorial Team
Medically reviewed on: Oct 06, 2014: Brenda B. Spriggs, MD, MPH, MBA
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