Dealing with Overactive Bladder in the Workplace

When you're hard at work, the last thing you need is to be preoccupied with an overactive bladder and frequent urination. These strategic steps can reduce the impact OAB has on your career.

Talk about it

There's no doubt that overactive bladder can be an embarrassing condition. If it is causing a problem on the job, it's even more important to overcome this embarrassment. You don't need to tell anyone about your OAB. But if frequent bathroom breaks, for example, are drawing attention or criticism, you may consider talking to your supervisor or close coworkers privately. If you do, here are some helpful tips:

  • Approach the subject the right way. Your goal should be to inform, not to make excuses.
  • Be prepared to explain the condition. Don?'t just say that you have an overactive bladder - explain OAB and how it impacts you. Share information or links to additional resources in case they want to know more.
  • Emphasize that overactive bladder is a treatable condition for which you're getting help. But don't feel the need to share which treatments you are pursuing or go into details. You have a right to maintain your privacy.
  • Let your boss or coworker know that you are coming to them in confidence and that you do not want your condition to become generally known.

Survive meetings

As you probably know all too well, some meetings at work can last for hours. Add in your worries about OAB symptoms, and long meetings can present a real challenge. Paying attention will be difficult if you are wondering, "Will I make it through without any accidents" Will I have to rush out of the room?? These tips may help:

  • If you know that a meeting is scheduled, urinate beforehand.
  • Get to the meeting a little early, if possible, and find a seat near the door. This way, you can slip out with less disruption if you need to go to the bathroom.
  • If you need to step out, have a coworker fill you in on any details later that you may have missed.

Avoid Irritants

Many foods and beverages commonly found around the office and other workplace settings are bladder irritants. This is especially true of coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages - even decaffeinated coffee and tea can be irritants. Avoid them, but be sure you still drink enough water or juice, since too few fluids can irritate the bladder as well.

Don't let overactive bladder get in the way of your career. With the proper approach and preparation, it doesn't have to.

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

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