Many of us find ourselves with far too much to do as the holidays approach and the last thing we need is more of that “gotta go feeling” known as overactive bladder or urinary urgency. There are several reasons why we may experience an increase in these sudden urges this time of year. Fortunately, there are also some fairly simple ways to help minimize them.
When the weather turns cold and thoughts turn toward the comforts of holiday foods; we may find ourselves drinking more than our average share of mochas, black coffees, or hot chocolate, all of which contain caffeine. For many women,caffeine is a potent bladder stimulant. Try substituting decaf or half-caf to reduce the impact.
Cranberries and oranges are healthy additions to many holiday treats but the acidity can irritate the bladder and cause more urinary frequency. Not all of us are sensitive to these foods but if you find that you are, you may want to gravitate toward the apple or pumpkin goodies as you approach the dessert table.
Alcohol causes us to process water more quickly and efficiently which initially causes us to have to go more often but eventually leads to dehydration. As the urine becomes more concentrated it is also more irritating to the bladder. Keep a close eye on your alcohol intake, and don’t forget to drink plenty of water to help counteract its effects.
Finally, stress and social anxiety can contribute to a “nervous bladder”.
This is a great reason to make sure that you are getting plenty of rest and regular exercise. You may want to focus on exercise that allows you to clear your mind, for some that will mean a long walk with a good friend, for others a solitary run, and for many yoga is a perfect stress reliever. With a little advance planning, you can be kinder to your bladder and your bladder will likely be kinder to you.
Best Wishes This Holiday Season!
~Dr. Melissa Edwards