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Overactive Bladder, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

Overactive bladder is the name for a group of bladder symptoms. There are three main symptoms:

  • A feeling that you have to go to the bathroom, urgently.
  • Sometimes incontinence, which means that you leak urine with the “gotta go” feeling.
  • Usually the need to go to the bathroom often , day and night.

With OAB, you feel that you need to empty your bladder even when it’s not full. This leads to the feeling that you need a bathroom quickly, right now. You can’t control or ignore this feeling. If you “gotta go” eight or more times each day and night, or fear that urine will leak out before youre ready, you may have OAB.

OAB affects about 33 million Americans. It’s not a normal part of aging. It’s a health problem that can last for a long time if it’s not treated. Many older men and women struggle with OAB symptoms. Often people don’t know about treatments that can help, or they don’t ask for help.

Stress urinary incontinence or SUI is a different bladder problem. People with SUI leak urine while sneezing, laughing or being active. It is not the same as that sudden “gotta go” feeling from OAB. To learn more about SUI, go to .

In this guide you will find clear information about how to manage OAB. Please ask for help, even if you feel embarrassed. Don’t wait, because there are several treatments that work well for OAB. Your health care provider should be trained to talk with you and help you manage your symptoms without embarrassment.

Causes Of An Overactive Bladder

Overactive bladder symptoms can be caused by a number of other conditions, including:

  • People who have diabetes can develop an overactive bladder
  • Men with prostate problems, not necessary prostate cancer
  • Women who have had operations for stress incontinence are also at risk
  • Any condition that affects the nervous system can cause problems. Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsons Disease and Alzheimers are all possible causes. Some of these conditions can also cause issues with getting around so that people affected may not be able to get to the toilet quickly enough

For many people suffering from an overactive bladder, the actual cause cannot be identified. It can be a relief to know that there is no other health problem causing your symptoms but it can also be frustrating and confusing not having a reason for the problem.

Overactive Bladder Treatment Options

Research indicates that most people believe the symptoms of an overactive bladder are an inevitable and normal part of growing older, rather than a treatable medical problem. This couldnt be further from the truth.

In fact, fewer than half of individuals with incontinence actually consult a healthcare provider about their problem. This is unfortunate, since there are many treatments available to combat symptoms of OAB.

Even though it may feel embarrassing to talk about your condition, its important to talk to your doctor about your incontinence symptoms. Watch our short film below about the importance of speaking up about bladder leakage.

NAFC is excited to debut a short film about coming to terms with overactive bladder and incontinence. About just how challenging it can be to admit that there’s a problem. And also about how facing up to that reality can be an important first step towards drier days. Watch this short video about OAB, and about how not speaking up can create more problems than staying silent.

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Symptoms Of Overactive Bladder

Are your bathroom needs taking up too much of your attention? Urinating is such a mundane aspect of daily life that is, until your bladder begins to act up. A sudden need to go, lots of nighttime visits to the toilet or an embarrassing leak can be signals that the muscles around your bladder are misfiring and will likely need some help to get back on track. These are all symptoms of overactive bladder to be aware of.

Overactive bladder is not uncommon, but it is also not normal, although it is usually easily treated and often reversed with behavioral strategies or medication. However, since other conditions can mimic the symptoms of OAB, it is important to get these bladder symptoms checked out as soon as you can, in order to rule out more serious problems and get treatment underway.

Causes Of Total Incontinence

What causes an overactive bladder and what you can do to stop it ...

Total incontinence is when your bladder cannot store any urine at all. It can mean you either pass large amounts of urine constantly, or you pass urine occasionally with frequent leaking in between.

Total incontinence can be caused by:

  • a problem with your bladder from birth
  • injury to your spinal cord this can disrupt the nerve signals between your brain and your bladder
  • a bladder fistula a small, tunnel like hole that can form between the bladder and a nearby area, such as the vagina

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Symptoms Of Overactive Bladder Syndrome

Overactive bladder syndrome is a common condition and can affect both men and women. Between 10 and 20% of people suffer from it at some stage in their lives. This syndrome is characterised by the presence of urinary symptoms that include:

  • The sudden need to urinate and having trouble postponing it, also called urgency, that can be followed by an involuntary loss of urine
  • The need to urinate more often than usual, called increased daytime frequency
  • The need to wake up at night to urinate, also called nocturia

When Should You Ask For Help With Your Overactive Bladder

Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control. In women specifically, urge incontinence and stress incontinence are the two most common types of overactive bladders, said Jason McKnight, MD, MS, primary care physician and clinical assistant professor at the Texas A& M College of MedicinesTexas A& M Family Medicine Residency Program. You should speak with your primary care provider anytime you feel the need to urinate and do not make it to the restroom in time or anytime you do not feel the need to urinate then leak urine.

In the majority of situations, a primary care provider can successfully treat an overactive bladder. If the bladder muscles are too active, you may have a strong urge to use the restroom when you have little urine in your bladder. If your bladder muscles are too weak, then you may have small accidents when you sneeze or lift something heavy. A successful treatment can be a combination of lifestyle changes, medications and exercises.

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Absorbency Products Can Help

No matter how fast you can run, sometimes that bathroom is just a little bit too far in the distance. Dont let yourself get caught in an embarrassing situation There is a wide range of products available that are discreet and comfortable.

Incontinence products excel in their absorbency and wont leak or become lumpy when they get wet. They help control odor and minimize contact between urine and your skin, preventing the development of a rash or other irritation.

Many incontinence products are available, from discrete pads with little bulk that can be slipped into underwear, to disposable adult-sized underwear with in-built absorbency and easy-tear sides. Gender-specific products account for the different requirements of men and women, and there are many reusable and washable options available.

Common brands include Attends, Because, Tena, Tranquility, Depend, Prevail and Poise.

Smoking May Increase The Urge To Urinate

Overactive Bladder (OAB) / Urge Urinary Incontinence (UUI) & the Urinary Microbiome

Smoking irritates the lining of the bladder, and also makes you cough, both of which are unhelpful if you have an overactive bladder.

It is a good decision for both general health reasons and overactive bladder reasons to stop smoking. Work with your health care provider to start a formal “Quit Smoking” program, which may involve smoking cessation medications and group support for the most successful outcome.

Learn more: Our Quit Smoking center also has some helpful advice.

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Treatment Options For Overactive Bladder

  • Behavioral therapies to help you regain control of their bladder
  • Watch the type, quantity and timing of food and drink that you take in
  • Avoiding foods and beverages that are likely to cause OAB symptoms
  • Regular toileting to prevent the bladder from getting too full
  • Weight Loss: Being overweight puts extra pressure on your bladder. Weight loss may help relieve some of the symptoms of OAB.
  • Urinate on a Schedule: Sometimes, the message that the bladder is full comes without warning and often too late. In these cases, women find that they lose urine on the way to the bathroom. There isn’t enough time between the message and their ability to get to the bathroom before they start to leak. Voiding on a schedule, also referred to as “Timed Voids” may help prevent urgency and urgency incontinence.

How Cranberry Juice Helps With Utis

UTIs happen when bacteria find their way into your urinary tract . The most common culprit is the bacteria E. coli.

E. coli normally lives in your intestines, but sometimes it can spread to your urethra. When this happens, E. coli bacteria stick to the lining of your urethra using a protein called adhesin. They can then spread to your bladder and kidneys if left untreated.

Cranberries can prevent this from happening as they contain a group of compounds called proanthocyanins. These chemicals have antibacterial properties and are designed to protect the cranberry plant from microbes as it grows. These chemicals can help to prevent UTIs by stopping bacteria from sticking to the urethra and spreading.

Numerous studies have confirmed the antibacterial properties of cranberries. However, in order to be effective, a fairly high dose is needed. This can cause problems for some people including stomach upsets, headaches, and increased blood sugar.

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How Much Does A Bladder Lift Cost

Bladder lift surgeries can cost between an estimated $5,800 and $8,000. The exact amount depends on the type of procedure.

Health insurance plans typically cover bladder lift procedures, similar to other surgical procedures. They arent considered cosmetic procedures.

If you have health insurance, its a good idea to check with your plan about your out-of-pocket costs before you decide to have the procedure. Ask about deductibles, copays, and coinsurance amounts.

Diagnosis Of Overactive Bladder Syndrome

Frequent Urination (Overactive Bladder)

When OAB symptoms are present, your doctor might need to rule out other possible explanations for the symptoms, such as urinary infection or diabetes.

First, the doctor or nurse might take your medical history and do a physical examination. If needed, other tests will be performed.

This section offers general information about the diagnosis of OAB and situations can vary from country to country.

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What Is Overactive Bladder Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention

Overactive bladder is a health condition defined by the frequent, urgent need to urinate.

Rather than a disease in its own right, overactive bladder is a category of urinary symptoms. It can result from a number of different diseases and health conditions.

People with overactive bladder tend to have sudden urges to urinate that they cant control, and some people will leak urine as a result .

You may need to get up and urinate many times during the day or night if you have this condition. ” rel=”nofollow”> 1)

Overactive bladder falls under the larger umbrella of bladder control problems, and it overlaps with urgency incontinence, or urinary incontinence due to urgency. But not all people with overactive bladder will experience incontinence.

Diagnosis Of Overactive Bladder

To thoroughly diagnose overactive bladders, tests should be conducted by highly expert urologists. Diagnostic tests include medical history, physical exam, which may include a rectal exam and a pelvic exam in women, urine sample to test for infection or other abnormalities and focused neurological exam that may identify sensory problems or abnormal reflexes. Overactive bladder assessments include:

  • Frequency and quantity of urination in each day starting from morning time after waking up and before going to sleep at night
  • Frequency and quantity of urination during nighttime starting from sleep at time to morning time.
  • Number of urination with inability to hold the urine
  • Number of urination with a sudden urge to urinate and that is difficult to control

In addition, tests might also involve measuring urine left in the bladder, measuring urine flow rate and testing bladder pressure. Individual patients might need different tests and procedures depending on their medical conditions and personal factors.

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Alternative Treatments For Nocturia

Many people turn to complementary and alternative medicine before seeking medical help. You may also be interested in alternative medications or treatments for nocturia, but there are few studies to support their use. These treatments may work for nocturia, but only if OAB is the cause.

For example, research has found that:

  • herbal medications have a positive impact on symptoms of OAB and quality of life
  • acupuncture provides short-term relief for OAB symptoms
  • homeopathic remedies may have benefits, but need more studies
  • alternative treatments have fewer side effects than medications
  • saw palmetto berry extract has no benefit for nocturia

But more research is needed to confirm if CAM works for OAB.

Always talk to your doctor before trying a supplement or alternative treatment. Certain CAM treatments can cause unintended side effects, especially if youre already taking medication.

Overactive Bladder At Night

What is an Overactive Bladder? (Sudden Need to Urinate)

If you find that you wake up to urinate more than one time per night, you may have a condition called nocturia, or overactive bladder at night. Nocturia isnt the same as overactive bladder. In fact, some people who experience no OAB symptoms during the day can still have nocturia.

Nocturia is more common in people over age 60, but one in three adults over 30 need two or more trips to the bathroom each night. Most adults can sleep six to eight hours without waking up. Others may only need to wake up once.

If you require more bathrooms breaks during your slumber, you may be experiencing overactive bladder at night.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Overactive Bladder Syndrome

The symptoms of OAB syndrome include:

  • Urgency:
    • This means that you have a sudden urgent desire to pass urine. You are not able to put off going to the toilet.
    • Latch key urgency is the name given to the urgent need you might feel to pass urine as soon as you get home and put your key in the door.
  • Frequency:
    • This means going to the toilet more often than normal – usually more than eight times a day. In many cases it is a lot more than eight times a day.
  • Nocturia:

You can read more about other urinary symptoms and their causes in the two separate leaflets called Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms in Men and Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms in Women .

Filling out a bladder diary will help your doctor work out which treatments would be best for you. Ideally, this should include details of your symptoms, what you ate and drank and your activities. It is best to complete the diary for at least three days and cover variations in your usual activities, such as both working and leisure days.

Related Conditions Of Overactive Bladder

Overactive bladder is distinct from, but related to, a number of other bladder and urinary conditions.

All of these conditions may be called bladder control problems. Healthcare providers may refer to them as lower urinary tract symptoms .

Other conditions that shouldnt be confused with overactive bladder include:

Stress Incontinence This refers to urine leakage due to movement, which puts pressure on your bladder. It can be caused by coughing, sneezing, laughing, or physical activity.

Reflex Incontinence This refers to urine leakage without any warning or urge. Its often caused by damaged bladder nerves.

Overflow Incontinence This condition can affect people who have difficulty fully emptying their bladder. As a result, the bladder can more easily overflow and leak as a result.

Functional Incontinence This happens when an outside barrier, such as a physical or mental disability, prevents someone from reaching a toilet in time to urinate, resulting in urine leakage.

Temporary Incontinence Urine leakage can happen due to a temporary illness that passes, such as a bad cough.

Bed-Wetting Also known as nocturnal enuresis, bed-wetting can affect adults as well as children. It may be worsened by certain medicines or by consuming caffeine or alcohol late in the evening.

Certain health problems may cause both bed-wetting and frequent nighttime urination. These conditions include kidney stones, a urinary tract infection , enlarged prostate, and obstructive sleep apnea.

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Medical Treatments For An Overactive Bladder

Depending on how successful they were and the strength of your condition, your doctor may recommend that you continue with the above treatments and return for another check-up after a specific period of time.

However, if they decide, usually in consultation with the patient, that medical treatment may be beneficial or necessary, they may choose to prescribe one or multiple medical treatments, some of which are detailed below.

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Causes Of Overactive Bladder In Men

Online Prescription For Overactive Bladder

About two-thirds of overactive bladder cases in men are due to benign prostatic hyperplasia , also called an enlarged prostate. The prostate gland surrounds the urethra, which is the tube that urine passes through from the bladder out of the body.

Although an enlarged prostate does not account for all cases of OAB in men, many who are treated for the symptoms are assumed to have an obstruction in the bladder caused by an enlarged prostate.

Age increases a mans risk of getting OAB. Age also increases a mans risk for BPH, which can lead to OAB.

An infection in the bladder, bladder stones and bladder cancer can cause symptoms that lead to OAB. Neurological conditions, such as a stroke, multiple sclerosis or Parkinsons disease, cause nerve damage that results in sending the incorrect signals to the bladder that causes OAB. Temporary factors, such as drinking a lot of caffeinated or alcoholic fluids, taking medications that increase urine output or having constipation, might increase the need to urinate.

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