Causes And Risk Factors
OAB occurs in both men and women. Its possible to have overactive bladder at any point in your life. But, its especially common in older adults. The prevalence of OAB in people younger than 50 years of age is less than 10 percent. After the age of 60, the prevalence increases to 20 to 30 percent.
The following are some of the other most common underlying causes and risk factors associated with OAB symptoms:
A healthy, normal functioning bladder holds urine until it gets full and is prompted to empty by nerve signals. However, when nerve damage occurs in the body, the muscles surrounding the urethra can be too loose. This undesirable looseness can cause someone to become incontinent. What can cause nerve damage that can then lead to bladder leakage? Some possibilities include:
- Back or pelvis surgery
Weak pelvic muscles
When a man or womans pelvic floor muscles are weak, bladder control issues can happen. The pelvic floor muscles are like a sling that holds up the uterus and bladder. For women, a pregnancy and childbirth can often lead to a stretching and weakening of the vital pelvic floor muscles. When pelvic floor muscles are compromised for this reason or another, the bladder can then sag out of place. The opening of the urethra also stretches and urine easily leaks out.
Extra weight or obesity
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.
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.
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Is Bladder Training Safe
low risk . This includes bladder training.
You may feel some discomfort while holding your urine, particularly after starting bladder training or after adjusting the interval between bathroom trips. Distraction techniques can help you to manage this sensation.
If you have any concerns regarding your bladder training, its important to raise them with your doctor.
What Medications Can I Use For Overactive Bladder
Your doctor may suggest trying behavioral techniques before having you use a medication to treat overactive bladder. However, medications can work very well to return normal function to the bladder. Ask your doctor about the risks and benefits of using the following commonly prescribed medications:
These medications control muscle spasms in the bladder:
- Oxybutynin , oxybutynin XL , oxybutynin TDDS .
- Tolterodine .
- Mirabegron .
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Interstitial Cystitis And Overactive Bladder
Overactive bladder is also one of the main symptoms of interstitial cystitis , a condition with symptoms including intense pelvic pain, bladder frequency, and bladder urgency.
Interstitial cystitis is a spectrum disorder that can be mild in some patients and severe in others. While IC was once seen exclusively as a bladder condition, it is now viewed as a condition of the bladder, pelvic floor muscles, and often the nervous system. Medical professionals say that all aspects of the condition need to be addressed for healing to occur.
Duration Of Overactive Bladder
In some people, overactive bladder is the result of health conditions that may improve over time or with treatment. In other people, OAB is caused by lasting or permanent health problems.
How long your OAB lasts will depend on its specific causes, as well as how effective your treatments are for both underlying conditions and OAB.
Even if your OAB doesnt go away completely with treatment, you may be able to reduce its severity or impact on your life. Doing so may include both lifestyle changes to reduce your symptoms and adaptive measures to prepare for symptoms.
Supplements For Adequate Nutrition
Developing a diet free of irritants can take some trial and error. During this time, its important to get the recommended amount of daily nutrients.
Be sure to talk with your doctor about your individual nutritional needs. They can help determine the appropriate supplements for you.
You may find it beneficial to supplement your diet with a daily multivitamin or nutrition drinks. Popular nutrition drinks include shakes, such as Boost or Ensure, and formulas, such as ProNourish.
Check in with your doctor before adding a supplement or nutrition drink to your regimen. Certain ingredients may interfere with your medications or otherwise negatively impact your overall health.
Is Surgery For Me
The decision to have surgery can be difficult, as there are pros and cons with each procedure. But, if your OAB symptoms are severe, and you have tried all other options, surgery may be right for you. Be sure to talk with your doctor about all of your options, including what the procedure is like, the materials used, the pros and cons of different surgical options, and the recovery times for each. Its also important to talk with your doctor about what you can expect after surgery, as not everyone is completely cured from incontinence after these procedures. A frank discussion with your doctor, and your own research on surgical options can help you decide if this is a path you would like to consider.
Learn more about surgery options for OAB in our 6th and final video of our series on managing Overactive Bladder.
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What Is Overactive Bladder And How Can You Treat It
Overactive bladder is estimated to affect between 12-14% of the UKs population. It can feel like an embarrassing condition to have, but it is treatable, and major strides have been made in treatment in recent years.
Consultant urologist Mr Jeremy Ockrim talks through the definition of overactive bladder, some potential causes and cutting-edge treatment options.
Coffee Or Tea Which Makes You Pee
Starting the day with a cup of coffee may be routine, however studies have shown that greater than 250 mg of caffeine daily can irritate the bladder causing urinary urgency and frequency.
Of note, Starbucks has some of the highest caffeine amounts of any coffee chain. One eight-ounce cup of brewed coffee contains approximately 180 mg of caffeine while a large, 20-ounce cup contains 415 mg. Cappuccino, espresso and the iced coffees contain slightly less caffeine than the brewed coffees.
Interestingly, the darker the roast, the less caffeine is present in ground coffee by volume. This is due to a) the longer a bean is roasted, the more caffeine in it is vaporized out of it, and b) the darker the roast, the larger the roasted bean becomes because it expands, producing more ground coffee by volume than a more lightly roasted bean will yield.
As caffeine is a diuretic, women may be causing their kidneys to produce more urine. This can overwhelm the bladder and cause frequent trips to the restroom or urinary leakage. Accordingly, it is good practice to drink at least eight ounces of water for each cup of coffee that you consume especially 30 minutes prior to engaging in an exercise routine to avoid dehydration.
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Overactive Bladder: Causes + 8 Natural Remedies
Have you ever thought about your bladder control or how often you urinate each day? Probably not, unless youve experienced a bladder control problem like overactive bladder. Overactive bladder is a condition in which the bladder cannot hold urine normally. One of the most common symptoms of this health problem is urinary incontinence or leaking urine. Many people suffer in silence, but if you are currently experiencing a bladder-related difficulty you are truly not alone. Its estimated that at least 33 million Americans have overactive bladder. ” rel=”nofollow”> 1)
Sometimes a person experiencing overactive bladder doesnt have any underlying health problem. Other times, an overactive bladder can be the result of medications or other more serious health issues, such as diabetes, kidney disease, multiple sclerosis or Parkinsons disease. OAB can also occur after surgery or childbirth. How much is too much when it comes to urination? People with OAB typically have to urinate more than 8 times per day or more than once at night.
Its crucial to address overactive bladder symptoms right away. Early treatment can reduce, or even completely get rid of, the highly unwanted symptoms. With some time and effort, there are several very doable and natural ways you can overcome an overactive bladder.
What Foods And Drinks To Avoid
While you may want to drink less liquid so you dont have to urinate as often, you should still make sure you stay hydrated. More concentrated urine, usually darker in color, can irritate your bladder and cause more frequent urination.
Other foods and drinks can contribute to OAB symptoms, including:
- tomato-based foods
You can test which drinks or foods irritate your bladder by eliminating them from your diet. Then reincorporate them one by one every two to three days at a time. Permanently eliminate the particular food or drink that worsens your symptoms.
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Natural Supplements You Can Take At Home
While there have been very few scientific studies on herbal remedies as an option for overactive bladder treatment, some remedies have shown promising results for some people.
Studies from Japan have shown improvements in urgency, leakage and a reduction in night-time urination using a herbal remedy known as Gosha-jinki-gan. Also, the buchu plant from South Africa is thought to nourish the bladder tissue and fights inflammation which can lead to infections and incontinence.
There are also plenty of common herbs that may help with symptoms, including:
- Corn silk
- Ganoderma lucidum
Remember to consult your doctor first before adding any of these herbal remedies into your overactive bladder management plan.
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.
Doctors also treat men with drugs that relax a muscle at the bladder neck and prostate to help with emptying. They include:
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Causes Of Urinary Incontinence
Incontinence can happen for many reasons. For example, urinary tract infections, vaginal infection or irritation, constipation. Some medicines can cause bladder control problems that last a short time. When incontinence lasts longer, it may be due to:
- Weak bladder muscles
- Overactive bladder muscles
- Weak pelvic floor muscles
- Damage to nerves that control the bladder from diseases such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, or Parkinsons disease
- Blockage from an enlarged prostate in men
- Diseases such as arthritis that may make it difficult to get to the bathroom in time
- Pelvic organ prolapse, which is when pelvic organs shift out of their normal place into the vagina. When pelvic organs are out of place, the bladder and urethra are not able to work normally, which may cause urine to leak.
Most incontinence in men is related to the prostate gland. Male incontinence may be caused by:
- Prostatitisa painful inflammation of the prostate gland
- Injury, or damage to nerves or muscles from surgery
- An enlarged prostate gland, which can lead to Benign Prostate Hyperplasia , a condition where the prostate grows as men age.
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.
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Types Of Urinary Incontinence
There are different types of incontinence:
- Stress incontinence occurs when urine leaks as pressure is put on the bladder, for example, during exercise, coughing, sneezing, laughing, or lifting heavy objects. Its the most common type of bladder control problem in younger and middle-age women. It may begin around the time of menopause.
- Urge incontinence happens when people have a sudden need to urinate and cannot hold their urine long enough to get to the toilet. It may be a problem for people who have diabetes, Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, multiple sclerosis, or stroke.
- Overflow incontinence happens when small amounts of urine leak from a bladder that is always full. A man can have trouble emptying his bladder if an enlarged prostate is blocking the urethra. Diabetes and spinal cord injuries can also cause this type of incontinence.
- Functional incontinence occurs in many older people who have normal bladder control. They just have a problem getting to the toilet because of arthritis or other disorders that make it hard to move quickly.
Reasons People Stop Taking Medication
Why do so many patients stop taking their medication for overactive bladder?
Theres a combination of inefficacy and intolerability, says urologist Emily Slopnick, MD. Some patients find that they simply dont yield the results they were hoping for. Others have trouble tolerating side effects, which include dry mouth, dry eyes, constipation, and confusion.
Unfortunately, patients often dont realize that there are several other options, Dr. Slopnick says.
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Prevention Of Overactive Bladder
Following a healthy diet and getting enough physical activity can help improve bladder symptoms by strengthening muscles in your torso, ensuring bowel regularity, and helping you maintain a healthy body weight.
Certain foods and ingredients can irritate your bladder, and you may want to keep a diary to figure out whether any are contributing to your symptoms.
Foods and beverages that may contribute to OAB include:
Kegel Exercises And Muscle Training
You can also do special pelvic floor exercises, or Kegel exercises, in addition to regular exercise. Kegel exercises strengthen the muscles to minimize involuntary contractions and improve posture. Its also one of the safest behavioral therapies without side effects and complications.
To do Kegel exercises:
You can also talk to a physical therapist to see if youre squeezing the right muscles.
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Prognosis Of Overactive Bladder
Overactive bladder is a set of symptoms, not a disease in its own right. How long your OAB lasts, and whether it gets better or worse, will depend on the underlying causes.
You may be able to reduce the burden of OAB through lifestyle changes, drug treatments, or certain nonsurgical or surgical procedures.
How Can Overactive Bladder Be Treated
For generations, those with overactive bladder were told that they would have to live with urgency and incontinence symptoms, with their options limited to toilet mapping staying in close vicinity to toilet facilities or wearing incontinence pads.
Options for treatment evolved, but were still limited to medical therapy , major surgery, physical therapies and behavioural techniques .
The good news is that, in recent times, the treatment options available and their success rate has much improved, although knowledge of new techniques and access to specialists remains limited.
Modern, less invasive advances, such as Botox injections and sacral nerve stimulation therapy, now mean that you can be treated much more successfully.
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