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What Does Overactive Bladder Mean

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Research And Statistics: How Many People Have Overactive Bladder

What is Overactive Bladder Syndrome?

Estimates as high as 30 percent of men and 40 percent of women will develop symptoms of overactive bladder at some point in their life, according to the American Urological Association.

In addition, almost one-half of all women will leak urine at some point, and as many as one in three older men leaks urine, according to the according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Its important to note that these numbers may underestimate the extent of overactive bladder, since many people are reluctant to report their symptoms due to embarrassment or lack of knowledge that treatments are available.

Is Bladder Pressure The Same Thing As A Spasm

Do you have pressure in your bladder that just wont go away? This type of chronic bladder pain is different from the spasms you may get with a condition such as overactive bladder or a urinary tract infection .

Bladder pressure feels more like constant ache rather than a muscle contraction. Doctors typically attribute bladder pressure to interstitial cystitis . IC is also known as bladder pain syndrome.

Heres more about this syndrome, its causes, and how to get relief from the pressure.

Symptoms Of Overactive Bladder

All of us feel the urge to pee very badly on occasion. This is normal. So how do you know if you have an overactive bladder? Here are some symptoms:

  • You have to urinate more than 8 times a day
  • The urge to urinate often wakes you up in the middle of the night
  • The urge to urinate comes on so strongly and suddenly that you feel you may not make it to the toilet

Keep a diary or journal of your symptoms, including your urges to urinate and how frequently you are urinating. Then discuss these symptoms of overactive bladder with your doctor to discuss the best treatment for you.

Getting the right diagnosis depends on your doctor having the right information. Donât know why the leaks? Keeping track of how much youâre drinking will help your doctor identify some possible causes of your overactive bladder symptoms.

Read Also: How Long Does Overactive Bladder Last

More Frequent Urinary Tract Infections

A weak pelvic floor can be mistaken for a UTI, but sometimes a weak pelvic floor can also increase the likelihood that you will experience UTIs, says Dr. Hesham. Signs that you may have a UTI include feeling an urge to pee, experiencing a burning sensation when you pee, and finding blood in your urine.

What Is Overactive Bladder Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention

Overactive Bladder: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatments

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.

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Treatment And Medication Options For Overactive Bladder

Overactive bladder may be treated with lifestyle changes, drugs, office procedures, implantable devices, or surgery.

Guidelines from the American Urologic Association to treat non-neurogenic OAB, updated in 2019, recommend asfirst line treatment behavioral therapies such as

  • bladder training
  • fluid management -guideline” rel=”nofollow”> 4)

If lifestyle measures arent enough, youll most likely be prescribed a small dose of a drug, which can be increased as needed to control symptoms.

If drugs dont deliver the relief you need, your doctor may give you Botox injections to help relax your bladder muscle.

Both office-based procedures and implantable devices can deliver electrical impulses to the nerves that communicate with your bladder, helping it relax.

In rare cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to increase your bladders capacity or to remove it completely.

Causes Of Urge Incontinence

The urgent and frequent need to pass urine can be caused by a problem with the detrusor muscles in the walls of your bladder.

The detrusor muscles relax to allow the bladder to fill with urine, then contract when you go to the toilet to let the urine out.

Sometimes the detrusor muscles contract too often, creating an urgent need to go to the toilet. This is known as having an overactive bladder.

The reason your detrusor muscles contract too often may not be clear, but possible causes include:

  • drinking too much alcohol or caffeine
  • not drinking enough fluids this can cause strong, concentrated urine to collect in your bladder, which can irritate the bladder and cause symptoms of overactivity

Overflow incontinence may also be caused by your detrusor muscles not fully contracting, which means your bladder does not completely empty when you urinate. As a result, the bladder becomes stretched.

Your detrusor muscles may not fully contract if:

  • theres damage to your nerves for example, as a result of surgery to part of your bowel or a spinal cord injury
  • youre taking certain medicines

Recommended Reading: Why Do I Get Bladder Infections So Often

The Pattern Of Incontinence Is Often Mixed

Symptoms of overactive bladder include frequency and nocturia . Some women also feel they need to pass urine, having only just done so due to over activity of the bladder muscle.

Recurrent urinary tract infections

UTIs can affect women of all ages, but this problem increases with age as a result of estrogen deficiency.

Management of urinary problems

Local estrogen

Local estrogen replacement therapy has been shown to alleviate urgency, urge incontinence, frequency, nocturia, dysuria and also to reduce urine infections.

Genuine Stress Incontinence would not appear to be helped by estrogen alone, but it does seem to improve the action of other treatments currently used.

The newer treatments including Ospemifene, DHEA and laser therapy may all have a beneficial effect on bladder problems.

Pelvic floor exercises

These can strengthen the pelvic floor reducing the risk of uterovaginal prolapse. Many women have learnt these techniques from childbirth, but it is well worth revisiting them.

Pelvic-floor physiotherapists are specialists in this field and are able to fully assess and monitor a womans pelvic floor function and teach appropriate techniques to strengthen it and retrain the bladder. They often use devices to help women perform appropriate exercises, such as weighted vaginal cones, or vaginal trainers. Your practice nurse or GP should be able to refer you to a specialist pelvic floor physiotherapist.

Surgery

Symptoms Of Overactive Bladder And Diagnosis

Overactive Bladder: What is OAB?

The most common symptoms of overactive bladder are urinary frequency and the sudden urge to urinate. If a woman is urinating more than eight times a day, this might be a symptom of OAB. Waking up in the middle of the night to urinate often indicates OAB, as well.

A urologist or urogynecologist may perform a number of tests to diagnosis OAB. These may include:

  • Physical exam, medical history review and symptom questionnaire.
  • Bladder stress test, performed by filling up the bladder and having the patient cough to ascertain how much urine leaks.
  • Postvoid residual volume test checks if the bladder is actually fully emptying by inserting a catheter through the urethra and into the bladder after urination. The catheter measures any remaining urine.
  • Urodynamic testing is a series of tests typically reserved for unusual cases and primarily measures urine flow to test for obstruction as well as evaluating urge sensation.
  • Urinalysis screens for the presence of bacteria and may rule out other similar conditions such as a UTI.
  • Cystoscopy examines the inside of the bladder by placing a long thin tube with a magnifying glass up the urethra.

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When Should I See My Doctor

Most women who leak urine after childbirth find that it goes away in the first few weeks, as the stretched muscles and tissues recover.

However, for some women it can take months while other women find their pelvic floor never recovers fully.

If you are still experiencing leakage after 6 months, talk to your midwife or doctor. Dealing with it early on can reduce the risk of it becoming a life-long problem.

Stress incontinence is common, but many women are too embarrassed to talk about it. However, doctors, midwives, maternal and child health nurses and continence nurses are used to talking about it. If you are experiencing leakage, they will have suggestions that can help.

What Are The Causes Of Overactive Bladder

In many cases, the cause of OAB is not easily identifiable. OAB symptoms are more common as one gets older, but should not be considered an untreatable consequence of aging. Also, OAB can occur in young women as well. Some women will experience OAB after childbirth or pelvic surgery. Certain neurological conditions can cause OAB symptoms including multiple sclerosis, Parkinsons disease, stroke, and spinal cord injury.

Read Also: Over The Counter Bladder Medication

Also Check: 3 Types Of Bladder Cancer

Causes Of Overactive Bladder In Men

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.

When Should I See A Healthcare Provider

Oab

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.

Also Check: Urinary Incontinence And Overactive Bladder

Botox Injections In The Bladder

An option for women who have failed all other medications. Onabotulinum toxin A is injected into the bladder muscle and causes partial paralysis of the detrusor muscle. Each course last approximately 6-12 months and patients typically will require multiple top-ups for the botox to be effective . This is performed under sedation in hospital as a day case and the botox takes approximately 7-10 days before working.

The botox is injected into the bladder wall as shown in the image, thru a small cystoscope that is introduced via the urethra. Approximately 5% of women will have trouble emptying there bladder following botox and use of a temporary catheter would then be required. The botox is now funded on the PBS in Australia when administered by a Urogynaecologist.

What Does It Mean If Have Overactive Bladder

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How Bad Is It

Your doctor may ask you questions to help figure out how much OAB is affecting your life. For example, you could rate on a scale of 1 to 5 how much you’ve been bothered by things like accidental leaks, lots of daytime bathroom breaks, and waking up at night to go. Your doctor might also ask you to keep a voiding diary of your bathroom trips.

Standing Versus Sitting Or Squatting

What is overactive bladder and how is it treated?

Males

In Western culture, the is regarded by some as more comfortable and more masculine than the sitting or squatting option. However, in public restrooms without urinals and sometimes at home, men may be urged to use the sitting position as to diminish spattering of urine.A systematic review of the effect of voiding position on the quality of urination found that in elderly males with , the sitting position was superior compared with the standing. Healthy males were not influenced by voiding position.

A literature review found cultural differences in socially accepted voiding positions around the world and found differences in preferred position: in the Middle-East and Asia, the was more prevalent, while in the Western world the standing and sitting positions were more common.

Females

Females usually sit or squat for urination, depending on what type of toilet they use: A is used for urination in a squatting position. If there is no toilet available then a squatting or a half squat position is common. A partial is taken up during urination by some women to avoid sitting on a potentially contaminated or when using a . However, this may leave urine behind in the . It can also result in urine landing on the .

Recommended Reading: Antibiotics Used For Bladder Infections

Using Nerve Stimulation For An Overactive Bladder

If youre finding lifestyle changes and medication cant control your overactive bladder symptoms, your doctor may recommend a slightly more invasive approach for long-term relief.

There is a procedure known as nerve stimulation which involves implanting a small electronic device into the body, almost like a pacemaker, which sits under your skin and sends electrical impulses to the sacral nerve, which plays a significant role in bladder emptying.

The aim of this treatment is to strengthen the supporting muscles of the bladder and leads to better control. At the moment, however, theres no guarantee that this procedure will eradicate all of your overactive bladder symptoms.

Anticholinergic Drugs For Oab

The largest class of drugs used to treat OAB is anticholinergic drugs. They work by blocking a chemical in your body called acetylcholine. This chemical sends a message to your bladder to contract. By blocking this chemical, these drugs reduce the contractions that cause you to release urine. In studies that compared the drugs, all anticholinergics worked in treating OAB.

Anticholinergics are sold under different brand names. Some are also available as generic drugs. These medications include:

All of these drugs except for Oxytrol come as either tablets or capsules that you take by mouth. Oxytrol is available as a skin patch.

The most common side effects of anticholinergic drugs include:

Seniors have the greatest risk of side effects from these drugs. These medications may also cause drowsiness and an increased risk of falls in seniors. Oxybutynin may cause more side effects than the other drugs in this class. However, taking oxybutynin in its extended-release form may reduce some of the side effects. Anticholinergics may also worsen dementia symptoms and should be used with caution in people with this disease.

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Hormones And Your Pelvic Floor

As you may already know, the pelvic floor is essentially an area of muscles that stretch over your pelvic bone. Its role is to support your uterus, ovaries, bowel, and the infamous bladder just to name a few. During the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause, our pelvic floor changes A LOT. And guess whos partially responsible? Our hormones! Specifically estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

Read Also: Heavy Feeling In Bladder And Frequent Urination

Revealed: Unusual Causes Of A Weak Bladder And How To Solve Them

Overactive Bladder Symptoms (OAB)

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Do you feel like you have a weak bladder? You may leak a bit of pee when you laugh, or sometimes the urge to pee comes on so suddenly that you wet yourself. This loss of bladder control is medically known as urinary incontinence, and its a common problem.

Its particularly common in women, due in part to differences in the female body and things like childbirth and the menopause affecting your bladder and pelvic muscles (read more about common types of urinary incontinence in women.

But there are also some lesser-known causes of a weak bladder. If you dont know why its happening, you may feel frustrated. But there is help available. So read on to learn about some of the more unusual causes of a weak bladder and what you can do about it.

Read Also: Medication For Overactive Bladder In The Elderly

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Causes And Risk Factors Of Overactive Bladder

Overactive bladder happens when your bladder muscles contract too readily, giving you a stronger or more frequent urge to urinate.

This problem can be caused by incomplete bladder emptying, overactive bladder muscles, or improper nerve signals from your brain that tell your bladder to contract.

Several different health issues can contribute to overactive bladder, including the following:

Getting Help For Overactive Bladder

The first step in treatment is to ask for help. It may feel funny talking to your doctor about something as private as urinary issues, but rest assured that your doctor is a professional and is here to help. Be prepared before your appointment by keeping a bladder diary for a few days. This will help your doctor see the extent of your problem, and may help him or her to see any triggers that may be causing your urinary urgency issues.

Be prepared to have a thorough discussion with your doctor about your overactive bladder symptoms, as well as any other symptoms you may be experiencing. You should also let you doctor know if you suffer from any other conditions, such as diabetes, and provide a list of medications youre currently taking, which may be contributing to your symptoms.

Making a list of questions beforehand is also a great idea to ensure that you dont forget anything during your appointment. You may want to ask your doctor about different treatment options that he thinks may be a good fit for you, or about any options youve read about that youre interested in trying. Make sure you find out about the potential side effects for any treatment your doctor proposes, as well as what you can expect in terms of a success rate.

Read Also: How Long Can You Live With Untreated Bladder Cancer

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