Overactive bladder (OAB) is a condition that affects millions of Americans. It isn't a disease, but the name of a group of urinary symptoms. The most common sign of OAB is a sudden urge to urinate (that you can't control). Due to these symptoms, patients may feel nervous about going out and being social where there may not be direct access to restrooms. Matters can be made worse around the holidays when traveling.
Limiting food and drinks that bother your bladder can help. This includes coffee, tea, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, alcohol, soda, other fizzy drinks, citrus fruit, food made with tomatoes and spicy foods.
In the two hours before you get on a plane, you should pay close attention to what you're drinking. The changes in cabin pressure may put extra pressure on your bladder, especially if it's full. Having an aisle seat on the airplane should allow you easier access to the restroom, so request one if it's possible.
Kegel exercises can be done while sitting in the car or on the airplane. They can help prevent you from leaking urine.
Michael J. Kennelly, MD is a member of the Urology Care Foundation Public Education Council, as well as a clinical professor in the Department of Surgery, Division of Urology at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.