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OAB and Your Relationships: Talking With Your Partner

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How to Talk to a Partner About OAB

So you’ve decided that it’s time to have “the talk.” When and where should you do it? How should you bring it up? And how can you get over your anxiety?

  • Remind yourself: This probably bothers you a lot more than it will bother your partner. You may be surprised at how easily your partner accepts the news.
  • Choose a quiet, comfortable environment where you will have privacy. This is an important subject; you don’t want a waitress showing up to say “Will there be anything else?” just as you’ve begun explaining your situation. Make sure you have enough time.
  • Don’t have this conversation over the phone! It’s a lot easier to imagine that a short pause in the conversation is a sign of embarrassment or horror if you can’t see the person’s face.
  • Don’t initiate the conversation right before intimacy. If you’re already on your way to bed, it’s probably a bad time to start talking about your overactive bladder. Even during a romantic dinner is probably not the best idea. A picnic lunch in the park or a long walk on the beach or in the woods, on the other hand, could be great.

What Should You Say About OAB?

You’ve figured out an appropriate time to talk to your partner. But what in the world are you going to say? It may be easier than you think.

  • Start the conversation slowly. If you’re discussing becoming sexually intimate, you might simply mention that you can sometimes have a bit of dribbling, and wait to see what your partner says in response.
  • Explain OAB to your partner. Come armed with information -- the National Association for Continence (NAFC) is a good source. Let your partner know that OAB is not just an older women’s problem -- millions of women and men of all ages have it.
  • Tell your partner what overactive bladder treatment your are trying, whether it’s behavioral therapy, taking medication, or considering a surgical approach.
  • Give your partner the chance to ask questions.

Experts say that people with overactive bladders often overestimate how much the news will embarrass or upset their partner. You’ll probably be a lot more concerned than they will. And by trusting them enough to tell them about your condition, you could make your relationship much stronger than before.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on July 16, 2013
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