Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

Font Size

OAB: When You Have an Accident

How to take control of your overactive bladder and reduce the chance of accidents.

5. Stay Sensibly Hydrated.

It seems so simple: Drink less and you'll have fewer OAB accidents. Yet that's not how your body really works.

Drink too little and you can end up with urethra and bladder irritation, constipation, concentrated urine (which has a stronger smell, if accidents do occur), or even an infection.

So how much should you drink daily? There's no one right amount for everyone, but aim for about 6 cups (about one and a half liters) of liquids per day.

If you have accidents at night, stop drinking fluids 2-4 hours before bed.



6. Watch Out for Bladder-Irritating Foods and Drinks

Lots of things -- including caffeine, alcohol, acidic foods and drinks, sweeteners, hot spices, and fizzy drinks -- can irritate your bladder. Although many foods and drinks can make OAB symptoms worse, you don't necessarily have to avoid all of them.

Instead, take the time to discover exactly what triggers your OAB. Is it the acids of citrus and tomatoes? The lactic acid in dairy products like aged cheese, yogurt, or sour cream? Or is it the caffeine in dark chocolates, sodas, tea, and coffee?

Start by excluding a food or drink you think may be aggravating your symptoms, then add small amounts back to your diet slowly.

7. Make Simple Changes.

You don't need to completely overhaul your life to get a handle on overactive bladder symptoms and avoid accidents. Simple changes may be all you need to prevent most mishaps, including:

  • At home, keep the path to the bathroom clear (and light the path at night, if you need to). You might even consider removing the bathroom door.
  • Wear easy-to-open clothes.
  • Empty your bladder before bed, a big meeting, or a trip.


8. Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles.

Learning where your pelvic floor muscles are and how to isolate them can help you make the most of pelvic floor exercises called Kegels.

You can do Kegels anywhere, without anyone noticing. With a little practice, Kegels can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles -- and that can help reduce feelings of urgency, the need to frequently urinate, and accidents.

Reviewed on April 13, 2012

Today on WebMD

Incontinence Women Slideshow
exam room
Public restroom door sign
nachos and beer
woman holding water
Food That Makes You Gotta Go
Male Incontinence Slideshow
sleepless woman
Worried in bed
woman standing in front of restroom sign
woman reading medicine bottle
Woman on riverbank in autumn