Posted: December 15, 2013

Nervous about going out because your bladder sometimes? Constantly worried about getting to a bathroom on time? With these new stresses, you may feel you’ll never get back to the normal you. About one in five adults over age 40 has problems with urinary urgency and frequency, according to the National Association for Continence. But an overactive bladder (OAB), also called urge incontinence, doesn't have to mean the end of your active lifestyle. By making a few changes like the ones outlined below, you can live well with a leaky bladder.

Mind Your Liquid Intake
Too much liquid, of course, will send you running to the bathroom too often, no matter what the condition of your nerves and muscles. Drinking too little, on the other hand, sets you up for constipation. This can lead to urinary tract infections UTIs irritate the bladder, triggering the need to go. Not drinking enough also creates concentrated urine, which then smells even worse if there's an accident.

Try Kegel Exercises
Most women know pelvic-floor exercises by the name "Kegel," after Arnold Kegel, the physician who popularized them. Kegels build the muscles used to control urine flow. Their effect is cumulative, so the more you do them, the better you can resist an ill-timed urge to urinate. Designate a time and place each to do these exercises. 5-10 minutes each day is all it takes. You can do them while working at your computer or sitting in your car.

Quit Smoking
Don’t have enough reasons to quite? Add this to the long list! The chronic cough smoking causes isn't doing your bladder any favors. Nicotine irritates the bladder lining. Even worse, smoking produces chronic coughing, which triggers leakage.

Wear Padding For Extra Security
Reducing the odds of leaking provides the best freedom. But beyond that, it's easier to live your usual life wearing added protection than to hide at home. There is a wide range of discreet, absorbent personal products out there. Some women swear by a tampon worn during heavy exercise. (Many female athletes with stress incontinence know this trick.) Be sure to change them out often. Disposable underwear is another solution. Forget the "adult diapers" imagery of the past; you’ll be happy to know tht current products, styled for either men or women, look more like classic undergarments. Don’t forget to carry a change of clothing in your car, as well as a dark plastic bag to transport soiled clothes until you can wash them.

Talk To Your Doctor
17%. That’s the number of baby-boomer women who say they're likely to immediately contact their doctor when they experience an embarrassing health condition or symptom, such as incontinence, according to a 2011 Harris Poll. And more than half (55 percent) wouldn't contact their doctor at all, even if the symptoms got worse! We can’t stress enough the importance of talking to your doctor as soon as you suspect a problem – you may save years of frustrating social situations by one conversation.