The Do's and Don'ts of OAB at Work

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Studies show that Overactive Bladder (OAB) is one of the leading causes of low work productivity in the United States. Here are some quick tips to help manage incontinence at the office, and to take some of the stress out of your work week.

Don’t dehydrate

Reducing your fluid intake throughout the day leads to concentrated urine, irritating the bladder and even causing bacteria. Do plan on drinking the proper amount of water to keep your bladder healthy. If you must reduce your fluid intake, try fluid-foods such as cucumbers or grapes. Also, consult your doctor before making any diet changes.

Don’t reach for that extra cup of coffee

Caffeine acts as a diuretic, flushing water from the body and giving you the urge to go. It also stimulates the nervous system and triggers the bladder muscles. Do try to drink herbal teas, which have about a third less caffeine than coffee. If you must drink coffee, espresso and instant coffee contain less caffeine than a regular brew.


Don’t rush for the best seat at meetings

Sometimes the “power position” next to the host or in the center of a hall isn’t the best spot as it may be farther from a restroom. Do instead go for the power seat that puts you in control of any urges. Look for “flanking” seats: opposite the host on either side of the guest, or aisle seats closer to the front. These still have easy access in case you need to step out, and minimize any disruption to the meeting. Presenting? Read on..

Don’t go “just in case…”

Heading to the bathroom before meetings or events may have an opposite effect on those with OAB. Frequent bathroom visits condition your bladder to hold less urine, making you go even more. Do schedule bathroom breaks so your body can establish a routine while at work. Pencil in some time every two and a half to four hours so you can plan ahead.

Don’t eat the wrong snacks

Cookies, chocolate and oranges are popular picks, but snacks high in sugars or citrus can also be irritating to our systems. Do reach for dried fruits, popcorn, whole wheat crackers or raw veggies and dips. These high-fiber snacks help clean the colon, which may reduce pressure on the bladder. Kidney-cleansing apple and cranberry juices are also great with lunch.

Don’t be embarrassed

The National Association for Continence reports that more than 10 per cent of the U.S, population has OAB. You’re not alone. Just as people change their diet or fitness routine, OAB is a lifestyle change, too. If you are still concerned, do talk to a doctor about treatment options or physical therapy to strengthen pelvic muscles.