Q: I smoke 20 cigarettes a day. Could this contribute towards my overactive bladder?

A: Nicotine can irritate the bladder muscle, causing bladder contraction and urgency. Coughing as a result of smoking may cause urinary leakage.

Q: I have been advised to do Pelvic Floor Exercises. How will these help my overactive bladder?

A: These exercises involve repeated contractions of the pelvic floor muscles in order that they may be strengthened. The muscles may have been weakened by constipation, heavy lifting, chronic cough, being overweight, pregnancy, childbirth or changes in hormone levels during menopause.

Q: Can you give me some tips to help me with my overactive bladder when travelling?

A: Travel can be particularly challenging if you suffer from an overactive bladder, but with a little determination it can be done. For car travel, having a discreet portable toilet/device in the car may help. Take a change of clothes and wear protective underwear or a pad. Plan your route - find out in advance the location of toilets, e.g. petrol stations, pubs and restaurants. For air travel, arrange in advance an aisle seat near to the toilets. A letter from your General Practitioner may enable you to have a seat right next to the toilet. Try not to travel during peak periods when things are more hectic and unpredictable.

The BHUK ‘Can’t Wait’ card, helps to explain that you need the toilet urgently and cannot queue.  Can't Wait Cards are issued to members as part of their membership pack.