Living With Overactive Bladder
Living with overactive bladder will depend on how serious your problem is and how well your treatment works. In either case, living with the condition may require better planning. You may have to plan when you consume liquids and how close you are to a bathroom. You also may consider wearing disposable undergarments that protect your clothing from leaking urine.
What Causes An Overactive Bladder
Your kidneys produce urine, and the urine later drains into your bladder. As you urinate, the urine further passes through an opening at the bottom of your bladder and then flows out of your body through the urethra. In women, the urethra is located right above the vagina, whereas, in men, the urethra opens at the tip of the penis.
This entire process of urination is controlled by nerve signals. When your bladder is filled, your brain receives signals to trigger the urge to urinate. As you urinate, your brain again receives signals to relax the muscles of your pelvic floor as well as the urethra to help pass the urine. Simultaneously, your bladder tightens to push the urine out.
In the case of an overactive bladder, the contraction of the bladder occurs involuntarily, even when the volume of urine inside is relatively low. This action causes a sudden urge to pee.
While the exact cause of this occurrence is yet to be found, the following are some factors that could be contributing to the symptoms of an overactive bladder:
Losing Weight May Help To Improve Your Bladder Control
Excess weight puts extra stress on your pelvic floor muscles and contributes to an overactive bladder and loss of bladder control. If you can lose even a small amount of weight, it will help with bladder control.
The best weight loss plans are always those that set realistic goals combined with healthy eating habits and physical activity. Fad diets, although often successful short-term, rarely achieve sustainable weight loss, because once you tire of the diet, you often revert to ingrained unhealthy eating habits.
Check out our Obesity and Weight Loss guide for more information.
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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 aren’t 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.
Another type of drug for overactive bladder is the tricyclic antidepressantimipramine hydrochloride , which also relaxes bladder muscles.
Doctors also treat men with drugs that relax a muscle at the bladder neck and prostate to help with emptying. They include:
Medications For Overactive Bladder
Medications for overactive bladder target muscles that control bladder function. These drugs can be used alone or in combination, and include:
- Anticholinergics such as trospium , darifenacin and oxybutynin relax bladder muscles. They are the most commonly prescribed medications for overactive bladder and are well tolerated. Side effects include constipation and dry mouth.
- Tricyclic antidepressants, such as imipramine and doxepin, stop contractions in the smooth muscle of the bladder. Side effects include dizziness, fatigue, changes in vision, nausea, insomnia, and dry mouth.
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Understanding Urine And The Bladder
The kidneys make urine all the time. A trickle of urine is constantly passing to the bladder down the ureters, the tubes from the kidneys to the bladder. You make different amounts of urine depending on how much you drink, eat and sweat.
The bladder is made of muscle and stores the urine. It expands like a balloon as it fills with urine. The outlet for urine, the urethra, is normally kept closed. This is helped by the muscles beneath the bladder that sweep around the urethra, the pelvic floor muscles. When a certain amount of urine is in the bladder, you become aware that the bladder is getting full. When you go to the toilet to pass urine, the bladder muscle squeezes and the urethra and pelvic floor muscles relax.
Complex nerve messages are sent between the brain, the bladder, and the pelvic floor muscles. These tell you how full your bladder is, and tell the right muscles to contract or relax at the right time.
Overactive Bladder Treatment: Procedures
Alright. Youâve tried drinking less. Youâve tried several medications. Nothing has been an effective overactive bladder treatment. What next?
Dial up the expert. A urologist. As surgeons, urologists can perform minimally invasive procedures to treat your overactive bladder.
The great news is that all of these procedures are safe, effective and have a minimal recovery period. This way you can return to a normal quality-of-life ASAP.
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Dietary Changes And Fluid Management
One of the most straightforward methods in the treatment of OAB involves making dietary changes. This involves cutting out several known food irritants from the diet and limiting fluid intake.
Foods to avoid
Foods and drinks, which are known to cause or worsen the symptoms of OAB include:
As triggers from food vary from person to person, it can be helpful for people to keep a diary detailing food intake and bladder symptoms. A diary can help people work out which foods are causing the greatest problems.
Manage fluid intake
Drinking enough water is essential for health. Too little water can lead to concentrated urine, which can irritate the bladder lining, increasing urgency. Too many liquids may worsen frequency symptoms. Fluid intake before bed can contribute to urinating during the night.
A , published in Research and Reports in Urology, recommends limiting fluid intake to 6 to 8 glasses of water daily, and avoiding liquids for 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
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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Home Remedies For Overactive Bladder Syndrome
Overactive bladder is not a disease but a syndrome a set of symptoms. It is very easy for urinary retention, and can make the urine uncontrollably. This disease is not dangerous, but it will affect the course of action as well as the relationship of the patient. In regard to OAB, many people get and suffer from it in silence. It is estimated that at least 33 million populations in America have this condition . Actually, many of you are wondering that: how much is too much regarding urination? In reality, people having OAB have to urinate more than 8 times each day or more than once per night.
I know that the reason you are reading this article of 10 Natural Home Remedies For Overactive Bladder is to learn how to treat overactive bladder the natural ways, but before that, you had better understand some basic information about this problem. It is important to address OAB symptoms right instantly and early treatment could timely reduce, or completely remove the unwanted symptoms. Hence, you can deal with it the right way.
Pelvic Floor Exercises Can Help Immensely
You cant see your pelvic floor muscles however, just like other muscles in your body they lose their strength if they are not put to use.
Pelvic floor exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor when done consistently at least twice a day. How are they done?
- Imagine you are holding back gas or urine.
- Squeeze and lift the rectal area without tightening your buttocks or belly. Try and hold it for a count of three before relaxing. Repeat this cycle 10 times. Do 10 sets of Kegel exercises, at least 3 times a day.
- Increase your contractions as your doctor recommends.
- Do not hold your breath when you do Kegel exercises. Keep your stomach, back, and leg muscles relaxed.
- Don’t use Kegel exercises to start and stop your urine stream which can lead to incomplete emptying of the bladder and an increased risk of a urinary tract infection.
Review our information about Kegel exercises for both women and men to learn more about the techniques.
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Uti And Other Symptoms
Urinary incontinence is a common sign of a UTI. Other symptoms typically occur along with the frequent urge to urinate. Someone with a UTI may also experience a burning sensation during urination or notice blood in their urine. Urine may also have a strong odor or a dark color.
Men with UTIs may experience rectal pain, while women with UTIs may have back or pelvic pain.
If you have any of these symptoms, you should be evaluated by a doctor. If youre diagnosed with a UTI, your doctor will prescribe a course of antibiotics.
Use Herbal Remedies To Relieve Symptoms And Promote Sleep
Herbs offer many benefits for sufferers of OAB. Marshmallow root and cornsilk soothe the urinary system, and while they may be consumed in many forms, I suggest drinking one quart of herbal tea daily, during the daytime.
If you suffer from frequent urinary tract infections, cranberry, blueberry, pipsissewa, buchu and uva ursi are excellent choices for relieving and preventing them. Consult with a qualified practitioner who is skilled about herbal therapies if you suspect that you have a urinary tract infection.
Valerian, hops, linden and passionflower are just a few of the many herbs that promote relaxation and sleep. Herbal remedies are generally very safe and well-tolerated. See which ones work best for you.
Photo Credit: monkeybusinessimages /
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Precautions And Proper Diagnosis
The main symptoms of OAB can also occur in other health conditions like bladder cancer, urinary tract infection and enlarged prostate. Seeing blood in your urine is not a symptom of OAB.
A sudden and frequent need to urinate is common in both OAB and a UTI. How can you tell the difference between these two urinary health issues? Unlike OAB, a UTI also comes with other symptoms such as discomfort while urinating. In addition, OAB symptoms are continuous while UTI symptoms are sudden and may also include a fever.
Overflow incontinence is characterized by the involuntary release of urine from an overfull urinary bladder, often in the absence of any urge to urinate. This condition is not associated with OAB. It typically occurs in people who have a blockage of the bladder outlet, which can occur with benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostate cancer or a narrowing of the urethra. Overflow incontinence can also occur when the muscle responsible for removing urine from the bladder is too weak to empty the bladder in a normal way.
It is very important to see a doctor to ensure a proper diagnosis if you experience any changes in your urine and/or urination habits.
Make Regular And Controlled Visits
Double void is another approach to dealing with OAB. This technique involves relieving yourself and then, a few minutes later, going again. This deliberate approach to bathroom visits helps you to make sure that after passing urine a second time, your bladder is mostly or completely empty. The main benefit of this approach is that you can avoid having to return to the bathroom just a few minutes after your initial visit, which is both a nuisance and sometimes embarassing.
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Other Treatments To Try
In rare cases when all OAB treatment fails and overactive bladder is severe, doctors may recommend one of several types of surgery.
A procedure called bladder augmentation uses part of the bowel to increase bladder capacity. Or, urinary diversion, an alternate route for bladder drainage for severe, complicated OAB patients.
Sacral nerve stimulation. Another procedure implants a small device, similar to a pacemaker, under the skin. The device is connected to a wire, which sends small electrical pulses to nerves around the pelvic floor that control the bladder and muscles surrounding it. This helps build bladder control. Itâs often called a bladder pacemaker. The main limitation with this treatment is that it keeps you from having a spinal MRI.
Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation. The doctor places a needle on nerves near your ankle that affect bladder control. Youâll have one session a week for 12 weeks and then maintenance treatments as needed. This procedure is done in the office.
An overactive bladder doesnât have to get in the way of your daily life. With a little time, patience, and the right treatment, you can regain control — and peace of mind. Whatever treatment for overactive bladder you and your doctor decide upon, it’s important that you stick with it. If you do, chances are your condition will improve in time.
Why Try Pumpkin Seeds For Overactive Bladder
In addition to relieving bladder problems, pumpkin seeds have emerged as an effective remedy for overactive bladder. In a three-month study, researchers administered 10 grams of these valuable seeds to men and women on a daily basis. Participants detected a major improvement in all parts of bladder health, ranging from the frequency of bathroom visits to frequency of urine accidents.
They realized a relief in their symptoms within just six weeks. Several studies have shown that pumpkin seeds can:
- Rebuild estrogen in the bladder
- Actively trigger bladder relaxation
- Minimize the sensation of urgency
- Reduce bladder spasms
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Foods To Incorporate If You Have Oab
Lean Proteins – fish, chicken breast, turkey, low fat beef and pork are good options. Eggs are also a good source of protein if youre trying to avoid meat.
Fiber Rich Foods – these foods are filling and can help prevent constipation, which can put extra pressure on your bladder. Almonds, oats, pears, raspberries lentils and beans are all good options when you want to add more fiber into your diet.
Fruits – while some fruits, especially citrus, can irritate the bladder, its still important to incorporate them into your diet. Bananas, apples, grapes, coconut and watermelon are good options for those with overactive bladder.
Vegetables – Leafy greens, like kale, lettuce, cucumber, squash, potatoes, broccoli, carrots, celery and bell peppers.
Whole grains, like oats, barley, farro, and quinoa .
You may wish to eliminate all the foods on the do not eat list, then slowly reintroduce them back into your diet one by one to determine which ones your bladder finds irritating.
Overactive Bladder Testing And Treatment
Overactive Bladder TestingTo diagnose OAB and rule out other conditions, your doctor will do a physical exam and discuss your medical history. In addition, a urologist may order the following tests:
- Urinalysis: a sample of your urine to check for infection, blood or other abnormalities
- Urodynamic Testing: a series of tests to measure how well your bladder and urethra function
Overactive Bladder Treatment
There are many treatment options for overactive bladder. Most people who are treated see an improvement in their symptoms.
- Lifestyle Changes: Adjusting activities that make your OAB symptoms worse such as eating or drinking caffeine or acidic foods is the first step in treating OAB.
- Bladder Retraining: Through retraining, you learn to resist the urge to go and increase control over how much urine your bladder can hold. Your doctor can set up a retraining schedule for you.
- Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy: Working with a physical therapist or health care provider who specializes in the pelvic floor muscles can help you learn to strengthen and control the muscles involved in urination. One type of exercise to strengthen the pelvic floor is called a Kegel.
- Medications: These relieve the frequent urges by blocking the nerve that signals your bladder to contract too soon.
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Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation
PTNS is a safe, office-based overactive bladder treatment that does not require any anesthesia. A small needle is placed under the skin of your ankle to stimulate the tibial nerve. An electrical impulse is gently sent from the tibial nerve, up your leg to the sacral nerve roots in your pelvis. These nerve roots are responsible for bladder function.
Stimulating these nerve fibers over time can improve bladder function for the better. How cool is that! Treatments are delivered over 12 weeks. Results from a double-blind randomized controlled trial , shows that up to 70% of patients will respond to PTNS.
The good news is that the results to PTNS seem to last beyond the 12 weeks. One study showed that with maintenance stimulation once a month, almost 80% of patients had continued positive results from PTNS for 3 years.
Other than mild discomfort at the needle site, side effects from PTNS are rare. PTNS is an effective overactive bladder treatment for patients not able or willing to have more invasive therapies.