Causes of Overactive Bladder

The possible causes of OAB are not fully understood, but it is thought that a variety of things can worsen symptoms. Some of these could be:

  • Alcohol: For some people, alcohol may make bladder problems worse. If you do drink alcohol, try to cut down the amount you drink or, if possible, avoid it altogether.
  • Anxiety: Being anxious or nervous can make the feeling of urgency worse. Use slow deep breaths, gentle exercises or doing activities that help you to relax.
  • Constipation: Constipation can put pressure on the bladder. To avoid this, try to eat a balanced diet with lots of fruit, vegetables and drink enough fluid. When sitting on the toilet raise your feet up on a stool so that your knees are higher than your hips.
  • Drinks: Try to avoid drinks containing caffeine (tea, coffee, cola) as this is known to increase the production of urine and may also irritate the bladder and make urgency symptoms worse. Also avoid diet fizzy drinks containing artifi cial sugars such as aspartame, acesulfame K and sodium saccharin (diet cola, diet lemonade).
  • Medication: Some medicines such as diuretics or water tablets may cause OAB.
  • Medical conditions (diabetes, stroke, prostate problems): It is important that these conditions are under control as they may cause bladder problems. For example, diabetes that is not controlled can increase the risk of urine infections.
  • Overweight: Losing weight may help your bladder problem.
  • Surgery: Previous pelvic or prostate surgery can cause OAB.
  • Smoking: Stopping smoking may help you reduce your OAB symptoms.

Click here to download Understanding Overactive Bladder PDF