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Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

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Putting an Overactive Bladder to Bed

Insights for Good Sleep and Good Sex

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep with OAB continued...

o Spicy foods, like curries

o Acidic foods, such as tomatoes and tomato sauces

o Chocolate

o Artificial sweeteners

  • Double-void before bed. Denson advises that you double-void, or urinate twice, right before bed. “Go to the bathroom, then brush your teeth and go through the rest of your bedtime routine,” she says. “Then, just before you’re about to lie down -- even if you don’t feel like you have to go -- try to urinate and see if you can squeeze out another tablespoon or so.”
  • Do Kegel exercises. Done regularly, they help control an overactive bladder. “They will trigger a reflex mechanism to relax the bladder,” Denson says. “If you feel a tremendous urge to urinate, doing a Kegel before you run to the bathroom will help settle down the bladder spasm and help you hold it until you get there.”

Kegels simply involve contracting and releasing the muscles around the opening of your urethra, just as you do when going to the bathroom. You can learn what a Kegel exercise feels like by starting, then stopping, your urine stream. Start with three sets of 8-12 contractions. Hold them for 6 to 10 seconds each, and perform these three to four times per week.

OAB and Your Sex Life

OAB can interfere with that other bed activity, too. There’s nothing that can shut down an intimate moment faster than realizing you’ve lost control of your bladder -- something that happens for many people with OAB. “Sexual activity itself is irritating to the bladder, and you can lose urine during intercourse,” Sanz says. “About 15% of my patients report having incontinence during sex.”

“When you’re being intimate, you’re used to secretions and moistness, but the thought that it’s actually urine leakage is really upsetting and uncomfortable,” Denson says. “Usually it’s the female patient who has the leakage, and it’s actually more bothersome for her than for her partner.”

Tips for Getting Your Groove Back

There are some things you can do to ward off discomfort or embarrassment during sex.

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