Lifestyle tips to help you manage your OAB1,2

Living with OAB can be challenging. Click on the icons below to learn more about lifestyle and behavioural changes you can make to help manage your OAB symptoms.

Listen to another patient with OAB, Wendy, talk about lifestyle changes she and her doctor chose to make!

  • Drinking too little or too much can aggravate your OAB symptoms2,3
  • Ask your doctor what the right amount is for you
  • Caffeine, alcohol and nicotine can make your OAB symptoms worse by irritating your bladder2,3
  • Try to limit or avoid their consumption2,3

What are pelvic floor muscle exercises?

  • Pelvic floor muscle exercises, also known as Kegels, are designed to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor to help keep the bladder in place and the urethra shut tight2,4
  • These exercises can help control involuntary bladder contractions2,4

How to do them:

  • Stand, sit or lie down with your knees slightly apart. Try to relax.
  • How to find your pelvic muscle:
    • Imagine that you are trying to stop yourself from urinating or having a bowel movement and squeeze those muscles
    • Try not to tighten or flex your stomach or buttocks
  • Tighten or flex the muscles for 5–10 seconds. Try to keep breathing normally.
  • Now relax the muscles for about 10 seconds
  • Repeat 12–20 times, three to five times a day

Keep practising! Like any other muscle in your body, your pelvic muscles will only stay strong as long as you exercise them regularly.

  • Talk to your healthcare provider if you need help or have questions
  • Regular physical activity, like walking or yoga, can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles2
  • Losing excess weight may also help reduce OAB symptoms2

What is bladder training?

  • Bladder training is a way of gradually teaching your bladder how to hold more urine and reduce the number trips to the bathroom to urinate4

How to do it:

  • When you feel the urge to urinate, try to delay going to the bathroom by a few minutes and then slowly increase the amount of time by 15–30 minutes
  • Eventually, create a schedule to go to the bathroom regularly every 3–4 hours

Remember, getting involved in your own care benefits you!

Understanding why it’s important to participate in your OAB treatment plan can help you make changes in your behaviour and help keep you motivated.


  1. Herschorn S, et al. Patient-reported outcomes in patients with overactive bladder treated with mirabegron and tolterodine in a prospective, double-blind, randomized, two-period crossover, multicenter study (PREFER). Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2018;16(1):69.
  2. Corcos J, et al. CUA guideline on adult overactive bladder. Can Urol Assoc J. 2017;11(5):E142-E173.
  3. Mayo Clinic. Overactive bladder 2022. Available at: Retrieved January 5, 2022.
  4. The Canadian Continence Foundation (CCF). Treating Incontinence. Available at: Accessed February 25, 2022.