According to a British study, cigarettes are to blame for the rise in prevalence of overactive bladder among smokers. Cigarette smokers experience a rise in the incidence of chronic coughing, a known detriment to the pelvic floor muscles. This can cause a muscular destabilization at the pelvic level, affecting neighboring organs such as the bladder. Bladder irritation is yet another reason overactive bladder is more prevalent among avid smokers as smokers suffering from oversensitive bladder can attest to. Their usual grievances include an uptick in frequency to restroom visits as well as a heightened urgency to void; the combination of which may lead to the type of incontinence known as Urge Incontinence.
Former smokers are not exempt from possibly suffering OAB as well. However, smoking cessation definitely minimizes the chance of incontinence symptoms from arising or becoming exacerbated. Cigarette smokers are three times more likely to develop urge incontinence, but more importantly, this terrible habit is also a major risk factor for bladder cancer.
A notoriously difficult habit to break, smoking has been such a pervasive presence in the lives of so many that trying to restrain oneself from picking up the next ‘ciggy’ can be quite nerve racking. Nevertheless, some helpful strategies are as follows:
- Seeking support from friends and family
- Obtaining an anti-smoking aid recommended by your doctor.
- Stop purchasing cigarettes!
- If going “cold turkey” is too difficult to overcome, baby steps will take you a long way towards complete cessation. Keeping one eye on the ideal goal should be maintained however, chiefly, quitting smoking entirely.
- Pride yourself in your choice to become smoke-free.
- Treat yourself with the money you would usually spend on cigarettes or save it for a rainy day. Do the math; you’ll be shocked at how much you spend yearly on this poisonous purchase.
- If you already suffer from incontinence symptoms, it is also recommended to modify your diet, stay away from foods with too much spice, caffeinated beverages, and alcohol.
- Train your bladder to gradually increase the intervals between restroom visits by exercising your pelvic muscles. Kegel exercises are recommended for this.
- Aim for weight loss if you are overweight as having excess pounds may exacerbate incontinence symptoms.
- Finally, drink lots of fluids to avoid dehydration as this can increase bladder irritation.