If you experience bladder leakage, therapies, and exercises can help strengthen your bladder muscles and improve your bladder control. This can include Kegel exercises and bladder training.

Let’s face it: An overactive bladder (OAB) can be very inconvenient. It can also be uncomfortable. It sends you searching for the bathroom more often than you’d like. It interrupts your activities. It may lead to episodes of incontinence and feelings of embarrassment.

But what if a few simple exercises could help you overcome your OAB symptoms? Check out our tips to help treat this condition.

1. Kegel exercises

To help treat OAB, consider adding Kegel exercises to your daily routine. Kegel repetitions can strengthen your bladder muscles and improve your bladder control.

To perform Kegel exercises, simply squeeze the muscles of your pelvic floor. If you’re unsure how to isolate these muscles, stop urinating midstream the next time you go to the bathroom. The muscles you use to cut off your urine are the same ones you should tighten during Kegel exercises.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDKD) recommends holding each “squeeze” for 3 seconds. Gradually build up to 3 sets of 10 repetitions every day. Just make sure to stop if you’re experiencing any pain.

Learn more about specific kegel exercises for overactive bladder.

2. Biofeedback

A technique called biofeedback can help you do Kegel exercises more effectively. In biofeedback, the doctor inserts a probe into the vagina.

The doctor then computer graphs and audio cues to identify which muscles you’re contracting during Kegel exercises.

If you’re contracting the wrong muscles, your doctor will help you find and engage the right ones for better results.

3. Bladder training

Bladder training can also help OAB symptoms. This exercise trains your bladder to hold more urine before you empty it. When your bladder can hold more urine, you can wait longer between bathroom visits.

Here are the steps:

  1. Determine how often you urinate in an average day.
  2. After you’ve identified this baseline, train your bladder to hold more urine by waiting as long as possible between bathroom breaks, even if it’s uncomfortable.
  3. After several weeks of practice, you should be able to extend the time between your bathroom visits.

Learn more about overactive bladder training.

4. Electrical stimulation

Electrical stimulation may also help you gain control of your bladder.

In this treatment, a temporary wire or implanted electrode is used to deliver electrical impulses to your bladder. These signals cause your bladder muscles to contract, which can help strengthen the muscles over time.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two types of electrical stimulation for treating OAB: percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS) and sacral neuromodulation (SNS).

Learn more about electrical stimulation for an overactive bladder.

5. Vaginal cones

You can also use vaginal cones or weights as a vaginal weight-training tool for your pelvic floor muscles. This can be useful if you don’t have as much time to invest in biofeedback or electrical stimulation.

Here’s how to use vaginal cones:

  1. To start, place a cone inside your vagina.
  2. Use your pelvic floor muscles to lift it.
  3. After you can hold lighter cones without discomfort, you can train your muscles to lift heavier cones. Your pelvic floor muscles will strengthen throughout this process.

There are many reasons to add OAB exercises to your daily routine. Kegel exercises and other bladder-strengthening activities can help you gain control of your bladder, reduce your symptoms, and avoid potentially embarrassing accidents.

They may also lower your risk of associated complications, such as disrupted sleep and emotional distress. If you still have difficulty with controlling your bladder after trying these options, talk with your doctor. They may encourage you to combine these techniques with medication or other treatments.

Other than doing exercises, there are other ways to treat an overactive bladder, depending on the severity of your incontinence. Natural treatments include acupuncture, as well as certain supplements, herbs, and essential oils.

What vitamins help with bladder control?

There are a few supplements and herbs that may help relieve OAB. They include:

  • gosha-jinki-gan (GJG)
  • Ganoderma lucidum (GL)
  • corn silk (Zea mays)
  • capsaicin
  • pumpkin seeds
  • kohki tea
  • magnesium hydroxide
  • L-arginine

Learn what the research says about these herbs and supplements.

If these don’t work, your doctor may prescribe certain medications, botox injections, nerve stimulation, and in some cases, surgery.

Living with untreated OAB can be very disruptive to your life, and can cause both distress and embarrassment. It can negatively affect your ability to live your life both at home and at work and can lead to mood disorders like anxiety or depression.

In addition, OAB can lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs), and it could cause you to become dehydrated. Finally, OAB is a risk factor for falls and fractures in older adults, according to research.

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In females assigned at birth (FAAB), the primary causes of OAB tend to be pregnancy and menopause.

In menopause, hormonal changes can weaken your bladder muscles. In pregnancy, your growing uterus can place increasing pressure on your bladder as your baby grows.

This can resolve after birth, but in some cases, it doesn’t and can require treatment.

Learn more about the causes of overactive bladder.

Generally speaking, if you’re urinating more than eight times a day or more than twice a night, you may have an OAB. Seeing a doctor for an evaluation can be a helpful next step.

Two other signs can indicate OAB: having a sudden, strong need to urinate or leaking urine after such an urge.

That said, if you feel that there is anything unusual or disruptive about your bathroom routine, see a doctor to learn more and to help alleviate your concerns.

Having OAB can be frustrating. It causes frequent urges to go to the restroom, and it can interfere with your daily activities.

It may even lead to occasional accidents, which can cause embarrassment.

It’s important to know that there are therapies and exercises that can help you gain better control of your bladder muscles. You can talk with a healthcare professional such as a doctor to learn more.