Talking About Overactive Bladder

Is your overactive bladder (OAB) affecting your relationships with family and friends? The people closest to you are likely to notice the changes caused by your OAB symptoms. If they don't understand the cause, they may be worried or hurt that you are keeping something from them.

As much as you might like to, you can't always keep OAB secret. Finding the words and the right approach can be daunting, but talking about your condition can be helpful at times - it can enable your loved ones to support you.

Consider discussing your overactive bladder when:

  • Friends or family members ask if something is wrong. People who share your household, such as your family or roommates, may have already noticed increased amounts of laundry or frequent bathroom visits.
  • People pick up on your excuses to go to the bathroom. When you go on trips, your fellow travelers may question the need for frequent rest stops. Even if you're not traveling, if you spend a lot of time with certain people, they will ask similar questions.
  • You anticipate that questions will be asked. If you know someone is going to ask about your OAB symptoms, it may be easier to bring up the topic before it becomes an issue. For example, you may want to consider talking about it when planning a trip or making housing plans.

How to talk about it

Once you've made the decision to tell someone about your overactive bladder, it can be difficult to bring up the topic. Here are a few talking points:

  • Find a quiet place. This is an important conversation, so you don't want a lot of distractions. And give yourself enough time for the discussion.
  • Explain overactive bladder. Tell your friend or family member that it is a common medical condition - and something that you are striving to treat.
  • Provide resources. Share resources about overactive bladder with your family and friends so that they can better understand it. Your doctor may have given you pamphlets that you can share with your loved ones.
  • Share how it affects you. Let them know what you're doing to manage it. Talking about what you're going through can help your friend or family member understand what overactive bladder means for you.

The more your friends and family know and understand, the better equipped they will be to support you. Overactive bladder does not have to be something you face alone.

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

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