Overactive bladder syndrome is common. Symptoms include an urgent feeling to go to relieve oneself, going to relieve yourself frequently and sometimes leaking urine before you can get to doing so (‘urge incontinence’). Treatment with bladder training often alleviates symptoms. Sometimes medication may be advised in addition to bladder training to ‘relax’ the bladder.

Top Seven Tips

1. Getting to the toilet

Make this as easy as possible. If you have difficulty getting about, consider special adaptations like a handrail. The Sunnah method (i.e., practice of Rasullullah ﷺ – the eastern squatting position) allows an easy passageway. Here we find the need to share the reasons why you should squat:

Benefits of Squatting

  • Hygiene aspect is on top of the list.
  • Since there is no contact of thighs/ buttocks to the surface of the toilet, chances of infection are much reduced.
  • Squat position helps to build the pressure required for evacuation much more easily.Bowel movement is faster and easier when we squat.
  • Alternate therapists say that squatting puts pressure on the nerve endings in the toes which signal the brain for better elimination.
  • Squat posture helps to protect the nerves that control prostate, uterus and bladder.Squatting relaxes and opens the rectal muscles to facilitate complete evacuation of bowels.
  • Pregnant women can reduce pressure on the uterus if they use the squat position and it is believed that daily squatting is conducive to normal delivery. Even birthing processes have the option of squat position in some centers.
  • Squatting reduces the risk of piles and appendicitis.
  • Researchers say that squat toilets might be as important as dietary fiber in reducing the risk of colon cancer
  • Squat position keeps the knee joints flexible

2. Caffiene

This is in tea, coffee and is found in some painkiller tablets. Caffiene has a diuretic effect (will cause urine form more often). Caffiene may also directly stimulate the bladder to make urgency symptoms worse. It may be worth trying without caffiene for a week or so to see if symptoms improve. If symptoms do improve, you may not want to give it up completely. However, you may wish to limit the times that you have it.

3. Diet

Avoid spicy-hot foods such as chilli peppers, chilli and curries. Also avoid citrus foods, including orange juice, cranberry juice and other citrus drinks. These are highly acidic and tend to irritate the bladder. Cranberry juice has a reputation for helping to clear up bladder infections, but it does not help with overactive bladder and urge incontinence. Even if carbonated drinks are not caffeinated, they may not have a place in your personalized urinary incontinence diet, “The carbon dioxide in the drink can irritate a sensitive bladder”. And once the irritation sets in, you can have the urge of having to go, the typical symptom of urge incontinence.


Constipation can cause or exacerbate urinary incontinence, you should make sure you’re getting enough fibre by filling your daily diet with the following foods:

  • Non citrus foods
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Vegetables

5. Drink normal quantities of fluids

It may seem sensible to cut back on the amount that you drink so the bladder does not fill so quickly. However, this can make symptoms worse as the urine becomes more concentrated which may irritate the bladder muscle. Aim to drink normal quantities of fluids each day. This is usually about two litres of fluid per day- about 6-8 glasses of fluid, and more in hot climates and hot weather.

6. Go to the toilet only when you need to

Some people get into the habit of going to the toilet more often than they need. They may go when their bladder only has a small amount of urine so as “not to be caught short”. This again may sound sensible as some people think that symptoms of an overactive bladder will not develop if the bladder does not fill very much and is emptied regularly. However, again, this can make symptoms worse in the long-run. If you go to the toilet too often the bladder becomes used to holding less urine. The bladder may then become even more sensitive and overactive at times when it is stretched a little. So, you may find that when you need to hold on a bit longer (for example, if you go out), symptoms are worse than ever.

7. Talk to your Doctor

People who experience incontinence should speak with a Urologist or other qualified health care providers. Asking the right questions can help you improve communication with your doctor, learn to manage your condition better and develop a more successful treatment plan.

The Tips are Approved by DR. A. AHMAD – MBBS, FCS UROLOGY (SA) -UROLOGIST, Practice No: 046 000 0201731

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