Getting Intimate When You Have an Overactive Bladder

If you're in a relationship, you may be facing another problem associated with overactive bladder - intimacy. Bladder control during sex can be difficult, leading to occasional accidents. Take steps - like treatment - to keep OAB from disrupting your sex life.

As your OAB treatment progresses, you will most likely find that your symptoms - including those that interrupt your sex life - become fewer and less severe.

In the meantime, discussing your bladder control problem with your sexual partner can reduce the embarrassment, so that you can continue more pleasurable pursuits.

Talk with your partner

You may wish to keep your overactive bladder secret, but doing so may not be possible. It is especially hard to keep your OAB a secret from your sexual partner. Discussing your overactive bladder with your partner can help him or her understand your condition, how it affects you and how it affects your sex life. Here are some tips:

  • Talk to your partner before an accident occurs. Surprising your partner with overactive bladder symptoms in the middle of sexual activity will increase the emotional strain of any discussion that might take place afterward.
  • Explain what overactive bladder is, and how it affects millions of Americans.
  • Emphasize that the condition is treatable and that you are working on managing it.
  • Let your partner know that you may experience incontinence during sexual activity. Make sure to note that such accidents will most likely occur less often as you undergo treatment.


For more tips about discussing overactive bladder with your partner and others, see Talking About Overactive Bladder.

Try Kegel exercises

Kegel exercises improve the symptoms of overactive bladder by strengthening pelvic floor muscles and increasing bladder control. They are particularly helpful for the type of bladder problems that occur during intimacy. Kegel exercises may also provide sexual benefits, increasing the pleasure experienced by both you and your partner.

Make pre-sex preparations

A few preparations can help with intimacy and sex. Try these tips:

  • Urinate before and after sex. Emptying your bladder before sex reduces your risk of having an accident, while urinating afterwards helps protect you from urinary tract infections.
  • Consider laying down easy-to-clean towels or blankets before sex. If an accident does occur, clean-up will be easier.
  • Don't forget to clean yourself, as well. Proper hygiene after sex will help control odor.


With the right consideration and preparation, you may not even notice the presence of your overactive bladder in your sex life. Open communication - not just about your OAB, but other feelings as well - can ultimately improve your relationship with your partner. Think of it as another type of intimacy, and focus on the affection and connection between you and your partner, not you and your overactive bladder.

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

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