How Do I Take Care Of Myself
If treatments dont work for you, or if youre waiting for them to take effect, incontinence products such as disposable pads or adult diapers can help you take control and improve your quality of life.
The following can help boost your comfort and confidence if youre wearing incontinence products:
- Change the product regularly. Changing your pads or adult diapers after a leak helps reduce odors.
- Apply a barrier ointment or lotion. Using a barrier ointment or lotion on your skin before using incontinence products helps prevent skin irritation from regular exposure to pee.
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes. Incontinence products can be bulky and make you feel self-conscious. Comfortable, loose-fitting clothing can help hide incontinence products, so you worry less about others noticing what youre wearing.
- Wear darker clothing. Darker clothing helps hide any leaks that may occur.
How We Made Our Recommendation
Our evaluation is primarily based on an independent scientific review of the evidence on the effectiveness, safety, and side effects of overactive bladder medications. A team of physicians and researchers at the Pacific Northwest Evidence-Based Practice Center conducted the analysis.
A synopsis of that forms the basis for this report. A consultant to Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs is also a member of the Pacific Northwest EPC research team, which has no financial interest in any pharmaceutical company or product. The full Pacific Northwest EPC review of overactive bladder drugs is available here. . We also relied on research conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Cochrane Collaboration.
Seven Effective Treatments For Overactive Bladder
Overactive bladder occurs when sudden or frequent urges to urinate become hard to control, and can often lead to leakage .
In order to best treat overactive bladder, a urologist must pinpoint the underlying cause. Treatment will depend on symptom severity and the degree to which they impact someone’s quality of life. In general, there are three approaches to treatment: medication, behavioral interventions, and surgery.
Read Also: Can Azo Cure Bladder Infection
Drugs For Overactive Bladder
In people with overactive bladder, muscles in the bladder wall contract at the wrong time. A group of drugs called anticholinergics combat this problem by blocking the nerve signals related to bladder muscle contractions. Research suggests that these drugs also might increase bladder capacity and decrease the urge to go.
Anticholinergic drugs include:
Oxytrol for women is the only drug available over the counter. Overall, these drugs work about the same in treating overactive bladder, and generally people tolerate all of them well. The main side effect is dry mouth, but anticholinergics also can cause constipation, blurred vision, and increased heartbeat.
Anticholinergics arent right for everyone. Some people with glaucoma, urinary retention, or gastrointestinal disease should avoid using anticholinergic drugs.
The drugs mirabegron and vibegron called beta-3 adrenergic agonists. These medications work by activating a protein receptor in bladder muscles that relaxes them and helps the bladder fill and store urine.
Doctors also treat men with drugs that relax a muscle at the bladder neck and prostate to help with emptying. They include:
Treating Overactive Bladder With Antidepressants
If the other class of drugs for treating overactive bladder do not help your condition, or if for some reason you are not able to take the other overactive bladder medications, your doctor might prescribe an antidepressant for you. Antidepressants are used for the treatment of depression, but they have been shown to help alleviate some symptoms of the overactive bladder as well. The US Food and Drug Administration , though, has not reviewed and approved the use of antidepressants for the treatment of overactive bladder. This is why many doctors use them off-label for the treatment of overactive bladder.
One of the common antidepressants prescribed by doctors for treating the symptoms of an overactive bladder is desipramine. Desipramine is an oral drug that works by relaxing the bladder and also contracting the muscles located at the neck of the bladder. These actions help reduce the need to urinate and also help control urine leakage while improving overall bladder control.
Another antidepressant that is used to treat overactive bladder is imipramine. Imipramine is another oral medication that functions in the same manner as desipramine. However, one of the main side effects of imipramine is that it causes sleepiness. This is why imipramine is a good choice for those who experience nighttime incontinence due to an overactive bladder.
However, there can be side effects of using antidepressants to treat overactive bladder. These include:
- Reduced sex drive
Recommended Reading: Percentage Of Bladder Tumors That Are Cancerous
How Is Overactive Bladder Diagnosed
A healthcare provider can diagnose overactive bladder by reviewing your symptoms and conducting a physical examination of the organs around your pelvis and rectum. They may ask you questions such as:
- What are your symptoms?
- How long have you had these symptoms?
- Do you have a family history of overactive bladder?
- What over-the-counter and prescription drugs do you take?
- What kinds of fluids do you drink during the day?
- What time of day do you drink certain fluids?
- What do you eat during the day?
They may also refer you to a urologist. A urologist is a doctor who specializes in diseases and conditions that affect your urinary tract and reproductive system.
Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Simulation
A less invasive option called percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation is also available. It only takes about half an hour per session to perform and is usually done in a doctors office.
In PNTS, a needle electrode is inserted near the ankle that delivers electrical pulses to the tibial nerve. This nerve is linked directly to the sacral nerve.
As in SNS, these electrical pulses help block inappropriate bladder signaling.
Also Check: Fighting Small Cell Bladder Cancer
What Is An Overactive Bladder Symptoms To Look For
Overactive bladder is a syndrome, or a set of symptoms, that is believed to be due to sudden contractions of the muscles in the wall of the bladder. When you have overactive bladder syndrome, the muscles controlling bladder function start acting involuntarily. This often leads to urinary incontinence or loss of bladder control. The urine leakage experienced by someone with OAB can be as little as several drops to up to several ounces. Sometimes, incontinence can be a sign of something simple like drinking way too many caffeinated beverages on a daily basis. Other times the underlying cause can be something more serious.
An overactive bladder is said to account for 40 to 70 percent of incontinence. What is incontinence? Incontinence is a lack of voluntary control over urination or defecation. When you have overactive bladder, you can experience urinary incontinence or loss of control over urination.
There are actually two different types of overactive bladder. Dry is when you have a sudden, urgent need to urinate many times during the day. Wet means you have the sudden, urgent need to urinate and you experience bladder leakage, which is also referred to as urge incontinence. Both dry and wet can occur without any underlying health condition. An estimated 60 percent of OAB patients have dry OAB while 40 percent have wet OAB .
OAB symptoms can differ on an individual case basis. Common symptoms of an overactive bladder include:
Best Treatments For Overactive Bladder
Overactive bladder is not just an embarrassing and annoying condition. It can have serious impact on every aspect of your life. For instance, it can compel you to avoid vacations, dinner outings and other social events, miss out on valuable time with friends and family, or lose out on many hours of sleep. Fortunately, there are safe and effective ways to treat the condition and restore your life back to normal. Minor cases of OAB can be effectively treated with pelvic muscle exercises, bladder training and absorbent pads, while severe cases can be successfully treated with medication and surgery.
The 4 best treatments for overactive bladder are:
What Should I Know About Storage And Disposal Of This Medication
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture .
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach.
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
Which Anticholinergic Drug For Overactive Bladder Symptoms In Adults
Many adults have symptoms of overactive bladder. A person with overactive bladder syndrome feels a very strong urge to pass urine and they may not make it to the toilet before they leak urine. Other common problems are a feeling of needing to urinate often during the day or night, or both. This problem seems to be caused by an overactive bladder muscle, and it becomes more common with ageing. Treatments are conservative measures, such as bladder training or drugs. Anticholinergic drugs can reduce the overactivity of the bladder muscle and the feeling of urgency. The review found that there are several anticholinergic drugs prescribed for adults with overactive bladder symptoms. The two most studied drugs are oxybutynin and tolterodine. These two drugs have similar effects but, on average, those taking oxybutynin were more likely to withdraw from the studies because of adverse effects, mainly dry mouth. However, both drugs can give dry mouth and this problem is less likely if an extended release formulation of either drug is used. Two newer drugs are solifenacin and fesoterodine. Solifenacin has a better effect and less risk of dry mouth compared to tolterodine. Fesoterodine has a better effect than extended release tolterodine but withdrawal from studies due to adverse effects and dry mouth was more likely.
To compare the effects of different anticholinergic drugs for overactive bladder symptoms.
Recommended Reading: Can You Have Intercourse While Having A Bladder Infection
Oxybutynin May Cause Side Effects Tell Your Doctor If Any Of These Symptoms Are Severe Or Do Not Go Away:
- dry eyes, nose, or skin
- change in ability to taste food
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- frequent, urgent, or painful urination
- fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone .
Oxybutynin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication.
Use Of Myrbetriq And Important Safety Information
Do not take MYRBETRIQ® if you are allergic to mirabegron or any ingredients in MYRBETRIQ. MYRBETRIQ may cause your blood pressure to increase or make your blood pressure worse if you have a history of high blood pressure. You and your doctor should check your blood pressure while you are taking MYRBETRIQ.
Don’t Miss: What Can Be Done About Bladder Leakage
Surgical Treatment For Overactive Bladder
Surgery may recommended for severe cases. The two most-commonly used procedures are:
- increases bladder size by removing a section of the bowel and adding it to the bladder. Increased bladder size allows someone to store more urine, reducing the urge to urinate. Possible complications include infection, blood clots, bowel obstruction, urinary fistula, and an increased risk of bladder tumors .
- Sacral Nerve Stimulation is a newer surgical technique that involves placing a small electrical device in the lower back. The device sends electrical impulses to the sacral nerve, which improves control of the muscles in the bladder and pelvic floor.
What Are Common Bladder Irritants
Before you find out what products to buy, it is important to learn more about the bladder itself. After all, most of us dont know enough about organs and their functions. The bladder is a muscular sac in the pelvis located right above and behind the pubic bone.
When its empty, the bladder resembles a pear in shape and size. On the other hand, when its full your bladder expands. The inner lining of the bladder tucks into the folds and it expands to accumulate the fluid i.e. urine.
Weak bladder control is a frequent problem that happens due to a wide array of causes. Some of the most common causes of weak bladder control include:
- drink enough fluids, particularly water
- Take enough time to empty your bladder completely
- Urinate after sex
- Wear loose-fitting clothes and cotton underwear
Bladder control requires some lifestyle adjustments, but sometimes you need more than that. This is where bladder control products step in. They help you get rid of the unpleasant symptoms and urgent urination in an entirely natural manner.
Read Also: Can Losing Weight Help Overactive Bladder
When Should I See A Healthcare Provider
See a healthcare provider if you experience any symptoms of an overactive bladder.
Age-related OAB may develop gradually and slowly worsen over time. If your symptoms develop suddenly and you have heavy leakage, your OAB may be a symptom of another condition, such as an infection or a neurological issue. Its best to have a provider check these symptoms sooner rather than later.
What Behavioral Changes Can I Make To Help Fix Overactive Bladder
You can make many changes to your behavior to help fix your overactive bladder. These include:
Keeping a bladder diary
A healthcare provider may ask you to keep a bladder diary for a few days. Noting what happened before you had an accident can help the provider determine the cause of your OAB. Youll use your bladder diary to track:
- What you drink.
- Tomatoes and tomato-based products.
- Spicy and acidic foods and drinks.
- Foods and drinks that contain artificial sweeteners, such as diet soft drinks and some chewing gums.
Maintaining bowel regularity
Constipation can place pressure on your bladder and affect your bladder function. You may be able to avoid constipation and reduce bladder symptoms by keeping healthy bowel habits. The following can help you maintain bowel regularity:
- Increase your fiber intake. Incorporate foods such as beans, pasta, oatmeal, bran cereal, whole wheat bread, fresh fruit and fresh vegetables into your diet.
- Drink two to four extra glasses of water each day.
- Exercise regularly.
Managing your weight
Having overweight can put pressure on your bladder, which may contribute to bladder control problems. Maintaining a weight thats healthy for you can reduce pressure on your bladder.
Stop using tobacco products
Cigarettes and other tobacco products can irritate your bladder muscle. Coughing spasms due to smokers cough can also cause leakage.
Bladder retraining teaches you how:
Don’t Miss: How Do You Soothe An Irritated Bladder
Cleavers And Corn Silk
Cleavers, or sticky willy, is a plant that clings to everything, as its name implies. Cleavers tea is marketed as detoxifying and as providing lymphatic support, but no evidence documents its use to reduce OAB symptoms.
Corn silk, the strands you pluck from corn before eating it, is also used to make a tea. This tea is said to ease urinary tract infection symptoms, but no data backs up that claim. Nor is there scientific proof that corn silk would help OAB.
Do Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises
Strong pelvic floor muscles hold in urine better than weak muscles. You can strengthen your pelvic floor muscles by doing Kegel exercises. These exercises involve tightening and relaxing the muscles that control urine flow. Researchers found that women who received pelvic floor muscle training had fewer leaks per day than women who didnt receive training.6 You should not do pelvic floor exercises while youre urinating.
Men can also benefit from pelvic floor muscle exercises. Strengthening these muscles may help a man leak urine less often, especially dribbling after urination.
A health care professional, such as a physical therapist trained in pelvic floor therapy, can help you get the most out of your Kegel exercises by helping you improve your core muscle strength. Your core includes your torso muscles, especially the lower back, pelvic floor muscles, and abdomen. These muscles keep your pelvis lined up with your spine, which helps with good posture and balance. Your physical therapist can show you how to do some exercises during daily activities, such as riding in a car or sitting at a desk.
You dont need special equipment for Kegel exercises. However, if you are unsure whether you are doing the exercises correctly, you can learn how to perform Kegel exercises properly by using biofeedback, electrical stimulation, or both. Biofeedback uses special sensors to measure muscle contractions that control urination.
You May Like: Loss Of Bladder Control When Coughing
Read Also: Is Green Tea Good For Bladder Infection
Could Your Overactive Bladder Be Something Else
Urgency, incontinence, and urinary frequency can all be caused by having urinary tract infections , kidney stones, prostate infection or enlargement, or could be from medicine you take to treat other conditions, such as high blood pressure. The first question your doctor might ask if you’re having urinary problems is what medicines you’re taking. If they don’t ask, be sure to bring it up.
Other conditions can cause symptoms similar to those of overactive bladder, tooespecially the need to make frequent bathroom trips. These include bladder cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and neurologic disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injuries, and strokes.
Other conditions can also cause urine leakage. For example, “stress incontinence”leaking urine when you cough, sneeze, run, jump, or even laughis sometimes confused with overactive bladder. It’s caused by a weakness of the muscles that help keep the bladder closed. Some people have a combination of overactive bladder and stress incontinence.
Another bladder disorder called “overflow incontinence” can have symptoms similar to overactive bladder. This condition is usually caused by an inability to empty the bladder, due to an obstruction or a problem with the muscles that contract the bladder. So much urine builds up in the bladder that it starts leaking out.