Coping Day & Night: A 24-Hour Plan

A simple schedule can help you achieve better bladder control:

Mornings
Urinate as soon as you wake up in the morning.

Shower or bathe daily. Of course, you can do this at night if you prefer.

Gather the items you will need for the day. These may include:

  • Incontinence products or pads
  • A change of clothes
  • Hand sanitizing gel (in case soap is not available in bathrooms)
  • Hygienic bathroom wipes (to help keep you clean and odor-free)
  • Your bladder diary

Urinate again just before leaving the house.

Throughout the day
Find out where the bathrooms are located wherever you go, before you need to use them.

Maintain a urination schedule (e.g., urinating every hour). Stick to this schedule whether or not you feel the urge to void. If you are undergoing bladder training, this schedule will change over time. Your doctor will help you make these changes.

Practice bladder training techniques (e.g., gradually increasing the amount of time between trips to the toilet) to reduce the urgency to urinate over time. Your doctor can help you learn these techniques.

Try Kegel exercises to increase the strength of your pelvic floor muscles and improve your bladder control. It is best to do these exercises 5 to 10 times per day, and try to do 10 contractions per exercise.

If you know you have an outside errand, or will be in a long meeting, make a trip to the bathroom right before.

Keep a bladder diary, recording your fluid intake, when and how much you urinate, and if accidents occur, when.

Drink moderate amounts of beverage over the course of the day. (Drinking too little can make OAB worse, as can drinking too much at one time.)

Limit alcohol and caffeine, and avoid tobacco, since these are common bladder irritants.

Evenings
Take stock of any items you may need to replace for the following day.

An hour or two before bedtime, stop drinking all fluids, especially if you have accidents at night or if you wake up at night to urinate.

Urinate just before going to bed.

Learn relaxation techniques to reduce your stress levels. Breathing exercises just before bed can help you to sleep soundly.

During the night
Keep the path from your bed to the bathroom clear of furniture and other items. If you wake up in the middle of the night and have to urinate, you don't want to trip on anything on the way to the toilet.

Keep your sleeping environment comfortable and quiet. Too much noise or light can make it difficult to get to sleep (or back to sleep, if you're awakened).

A smart daily schedule may not solve your overactive bladder problems. But it's an essential part of any effective plan.

Reviewed by: David O. Sussman, D.O., FACOS

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