You are on your way to your favorite vacation spot or an important business meeting. After a mad rush to the airport and having soldiered through pre-flight security, you finally board the plane and settle in your favorite 20A seat by the window. Time to relax… However, as soon as you hear “prepare for take-off”, your bladder starts pleading you to go now — or else.

Sounds familiar? If yes, you may have an overactive bladder (OAB), a dysfunction that, according to the National Association for Continence, affects nearly 25 million Americans, mostly women. Living with OAB presents some unique challenges.

Check out our latest OAB study here

Dr. Staskin, Director of Urology at BCT, offers 5 tips for flying with OAB:

  1. Be careful with what you eat and drink before boarding the plane. Avoid spicy food, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and beverages containing artificial sweeteners. These foods/drinks tend to irritate the bladder and cause it to send the urge signal sooner.

  2. Stay hydrated. It may sound counterintuitive, but drinking enough water is crucial in managing the bladder. Acidity, which is often a consequence of insufficient hydration, is a very strong irritant for your bladder.

  3. Reduce anxiety. Anxiety is a common trigger of an OAB reaction. Plan to arrive to the airport early, thus leaving yourself enough time to find the bathroom before your check in for the flight. If possible, ask for an aisle seat. By knowing that you are well prepared, you will calm your OAB symptoms down.

  4. Keep a positive attitude. Short-term, there is not much you can do about needing to visit that little cabin in the back of the plane frequently. And even if some folks start giving you looks, the reality is that they can also do nothing about you asking them to get up from their seats and let you out. So do it with a smile.

  5. Do not rush to flush. When in the bathroom, allow yourself time to fully relax your bladder.

And when you are back home, talk to your doctor, says Dr. Staskin. While few people look forward to discussing urinary frequency and incontinence even with their doctors, the truth is that many will definitely benefit from this conversation. Several OAB medications are already on the market and new treatments are in the development pipeline. Don’t suffer alone!

To learn more about OAB and the new OAB investigational medications being tested at Boston Clinical Trials, please visit