How can I stop my overactive bladder from acting up during...

A fellow caregiver asked...

How can I stop my overactive bladder from acting up during sex?

Expert Answer

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

Overactive bladder (OAB) can be a difficult and embarrassing problem, especially if it causes urges or incontinence during sex. Research has shown that OAB does affect sexual activity in more than 40% of people who have it, so you are not alone. First, talk with your partner about your condition. I know this may be difficult, but it will reduce embarrassment for you (and your partner) if an accident should occur. If they genuinely care for you, they should be understanding and willing to accommodate for your bladder issues. Here are some other things I would suggest:

1) Try different positions, as you may find that some positions irritate your bladder more than others.

2) If you suffer from vaginal dryness, use a water-based lubricant like KY Jelly, as this will be less irritating to the tissues around your vagina, and therefore less irritating to your bladder.

3) Make sure that you empty your bladder before and after sex.

4) Place absorbent towels or cloths on the bed to absorb any leakage, so you will not worry about having to clean up if you have an accident.

Lastly, I just want to make sure that you have gotten a full work-up and examination for your OAB. If not, you may want to schedule an appointment with your gynecologist. They can help you try Kegel exercises, medications, and behavioral and lifestyle changes that may help with your bladder problems. Good luck!