Every morning I start my day with two large glasses of water and two cups of black coffee. Then I pee a lot.
It’s frustrating. The urge hits hard and I need to beeline to a toilet as fast as possible. Most of the time it’s easy, but when it isn’t, it can be scary. It’s really hard to hold.
Millions of people struggle with an overactive bladder. My personal experience makes me slightly wary for the future. Because although an overactive bladder, or OAB, is common among older adults, it isn’t necessarily a “normal” sign of aging.
The association with age is largely due to the reality that OAB, the frequent and sudden urge to urinate that is difficult to control, is often a symptom of another condition.
And it’s a condition that is generally associated with age.
So, even though OAB is its own thing, it likely isn’t occurring without reason. Something else is likely causing bladder muscles to contract involuntarily even when there is only a small amount of urine present.
What might contribute to an overactive bladder? A host of conditions can lead to this frustrating condition. They include:
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Enlarged prostate
- Bladder abnormalities like kidney stones
If you’re worried about an overactive bladder, there are preventative measures you can take. Some may be as simple as having one less cup of coffee in the morning, while others are more long-term.
Maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the risk of OAB. A healthy weight can reduce pressure on the bladder and may also significantly lower the risk for diabetes, which is also a potential cause of OAB. Adopting a healthy, fiber-rich diet is recommended.
Exercise is another potential way to prevent OAB. Exercise can help prevent diabetes and other conditions that may lead to impaired bladder control.
Quitting smoking, limiting caffeine and alcohol, and managing any existing conditions may also help. Kegel exercises to promote stronger pelvic floor muscles are also worthwhile.