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Nervous about going out because your bladder sometimes leaks? Or constantly worried about getting to a bathroom on time? Overactive bladder is often caused by a disruption in the nerve signals from the brain to the muscles involved in urination.

What Causes Incontinence?

  • Age
  • Pregnancy
  • Vaginal Delivery
  • Obesity/BMI
  • Hysterectomy
  • Physical Activity
  • Smoking
  • Family History
  • Diet
  • Other Medical Conditions

According to most incontinence experts and the National Association for Continence, you may have overactive bladder if you have one of the following symptoms:

  • You feel a need to go to the bathroom more than eight times a day.
  • You get up in the night more than once to go to the bathroom.
  • You sometimes feel a sudden urge to go to the bathroom and worry you won’t get there in time.
  • The urge to urinate is overwhelming.
  • Some urine leaks out before you can use the toilet.

You may have mixed incontinence (overactive bladder plus stress incontinence) if you also have one of the following symptoms:

  • Some urine leaks out when you cough, sneeze, or laugh hard.
  • Some urine leaks out when you lift something or bend over.
  • Some urine lifts out when you run, have intercourse, or exercise vigorously.

Here are ten ways to live a normal life despite bladder worries:

1. Be sure you’re not drinking too much — or too little.

2. Identify and avoid your trigger food(s).

3. Get the knack.

4. Keep on Kegeling.

5. Visualize a delay.

6. Quit smoking.

7. Treat your bladder the same, seven days a week.

8. Make sure all of your doctors know about a new prescription.

9. Wear tampons or pads for extra security.

10. Get the right diagnosis.

The best way to live normally with an overactive bladder is to be sure of the source of the problem, so you get to the right treatment. Only 17 percent of baby-boomer women say they’re likely to immediately contact their doctor when they experience an embarrassing health condition or symptom, such as incontinence, according to a 2011 Harris Poll. And more than half (55 percent) wouldn’t contact their doctor at all, even if the symptoms got worse!

This is changing, doctors say, as more people become aware of the options surrounding incontinence.