Do you or your loved ones experience issues with bladder control? Adults often struggle with bladder control issues. According to the Urology Care Foundation, overactive bladder (OAB) affects at least 33 million Americans. An overactive bladder (OAB) is a disorder that prevents the bladder from holding urine and results in accidental or unintentional leakages. Whether it’s Overactive Bladder Syndrome (OAB) or Urinary Incontinence (UI), these conditions can be a nuisance, and ignoring them can lead to severe consequences.
The first step is to know what bladder control disorders are and how frequent they are. Here is everything you need to know about overactive bladder (OAB) and how to treat it!
What Is An Overactive Bladder?
Overactive Bladder (OAB) causes an uncontrollable need or desire to urinate. In this condition, people cannot hold in their urine, resulting in leakage.
An overactive bladder (OAB) is a combination of symptoms that can urge you to urinate more frequently, with greater urgency, experience incontinence (leakage), and have a nighttime urination need. Any of these symptoms or all of them can be extremely stressful and have an awful effect on your quality of life.
An overactive bladder (OAB) can result in several problems, including an unexpected, overwhelming desire to urinate and a persistent desire to use the restroom during the day and at night. While it can occur at any age, it is mostly found in aged people. Both males and females are prone to overactive bladder.
A person’s work, social life, and sleep quality can all be impacted and compromised by an overactive bladder (OAB). An overactive bladder (OAB) can result from a variety of conditions, and the course of treatment depends on the different symptoms found in the individual. In many situations, an effective treatment is available. Solutions include prescription drugs, surgery, nerve stimulation, and natural therapies. A doctor can guide you in choosing the best course of action. These solutions are discussed in detail below.
In this clinically diagnosed symptom-based syndrome, a person encounters frequent urine urges and nocturia. In this state, a person wakes up in the middle of the night due to urine pressure, with or without urge urinary incontinence. To treat overactive bladder syndrome, the underlying pathology must be ruled out. First-line therapy options include antimuscarinic drugs, pelvic floor exercises, bladder training, and lifestyle modifications.
A urology referral is necessary if conservative care fails. Botulinum toxin, neuromodulation, or surgical procedures such as augmentation cystoplasty or urine diversion are second-line therapy that is more invasive.
Is Urge Incontinence The Same As Overactive Bladder?
Urge incontinence is also referred to as an overactive bladder (OAB). Overactive Bladder (OAB) refers to the overwhelming urge to use the restroom immediately. At the same time, incontinence is the term for urine leakage or the lack of bladder control that results in leaks.
Another typical bladder issue is Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI). Incontinence caused by stress is SUI. It occurs when your bladder is compressed due to a cough, chuckle, sneeze, or lifting of a heavy object. Urine leaks out of your bladder without your control because your bladder is under strain. You are more likely to develop stress incontinence if you are menopausal, pregnant, or have recently given birth. But OAB is distinct from SUI.
Consequences And Complications Of An Overactive Bladder
Many adults experience bladder problems, which are more than just a bother. Untreated OAB symptoms can severely impact the quality of your life because they rob you of sleep. They adversely affect your mental health, productivity, and social activities. Any kind of incontinence might lower your quality of life in general.
Suppose your symptoms of overactive bladder interfere with your life. In that case, you might also feel sad, experience anxiety, stress, panic attacks, sleep issues and irregular sleep patterns, and have sexual problems. Experiencing the persistent urge to pee when you thought you had just peed and the worry that you might spill at any unexpected time is constant trouble and can take a toll on your mental health. And since this disorder doesn’t cure on its own, ignoring it would only worsen the condition and intensify its symptoms. Therefore, it is necessary to treat an overactive bladder.
Symptoms Of Overactive Bladder
Each person experiences an overactive bladder differently. Overactive bladder (OAB) can have an impact on quality of life. The disease impacts your daily chores, relationships, sleep, and work life. Therefore, treating symptoms as soon as they appear to effectively control or cure the problem is best.
So how would you know if you have an overactive bladder? Not being able to control your urine and urine patterns is one of the significant and obvious symptoms of overactive bladder syndrome. Still, a group of symptoms can be associated with an overactive bladder. The following specific signs and symptoms indicate an overactive bladder:
Urinary urgency is the inability to put off a sudden, intense need to urinate. When you experience this intense urge to urinate, even when you recently emptied your bladder, indicates OAB. You only have a brief window of time to reach a bathroom once you feel the urge to urinate. You feel an urgent desire to urinate and then experience urge incontinence or the accidental leaking of urine.
Frequent urination patterns are also a symptom encountered by people with this disorder. They frequently urinate, typically more than eight times per day. The typical symptom is an increase in the frequency of urination compared to before. Many OAB sufferers need to urinate more frequently than usual. A typical person urinates six to eight times daily, plus once at night. Those who have OAB typically urinate two or more times at night and more than eight times each day.
This symptom is defined by the urge to get up during the night to urinate at least twice.
Nocturia also has long-term negative effects, such as sleep loss, and it can also make you more prone to developing other illnesses. If you frequently urinate at night, consult a doctor. To manage your OAB symptoms, they may advise making lifestyle adjustments or receiving medical care.
If you experience any of these symptoms, then there is a high chance that you suffer from overactive bladder syndrome. But no need to worry because we have got you covered! Keep scrolling and learn how to live a stress-free life!
Causes Of Overactive Bladder
You might wonder what causes an overactive bladder. Several factors, or possibly a combination of factors, might contribute to an overactive bladder. Some potential causes are:
Weak Pelvic Muscles
Pregnancy and childbirth can stretch and weaken women’s pelvic muscles, which are the muscles and tissues that support the lower abdominal organs. The bladder may sag from its natural position and may cause leakage.
The brain and bladder can receive messages that instruct them to empty themselves at the wrong times. This can occur because of trauma and illnesses.
Alcohol, Prescription Drugs, And Caffeine
All these items might depress the nerves, impacting the signals that travel to the brain. The bladder could overflow because of this. Caffeine and diuretics might also hasten your bladder’s filling and potential leakage.
An infection, such as a urinary tract infection (UTI), can aggravate the bladder’s nerves and induce an unannounced bladder contraction.
Carrying excess weight puts additional strain on your bladder, which can also result in unexpected urges that lead to urinary incontinence.
Estrogen Shortage After Menopause
This hormonal alteration may be a factor in the urgency-related loss of pee. You can consult your doctor and ask if vaginal estrogen therapy is appropriate.
The bladder muscles move or contract when it is full. These muscles help to urinate by pushing urine out of the body. If you experience incontinence, this indicates that your bladder muscles don’t always move when you want them to. Even though your bladder isn’t full and doesn’t need to empty itself just yet, these muscular contractions force you to urinate unintentionally.
So, as we discussed above, unwanted urinary patterns can be caused by various situations. But there may not always be a clear reason why it is happening. Controlling urine is difficult for someone with urinary incontinence. Various underlying reasons can trigger different types of urinary incontinence. An underlying condition like Parkinson’s, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or renal disease may cause an overactive bladder (OAB). Other times, it is related to drugs, procedures, or childbirth. There may, however, be no apparent cause in some cases.
Even though medical disorders usually induce an overactive bladder, remember that incontinence can occur even if you’re in great health. Your likelihood of developing urine incontinence increases if you are older than 60, overweight, have had several pregnancies, or your family or relatives have experienced urinary incontinence.
How Is An Overactive Bladder Treated?
So how do we get rid of an overactive bladder? Having an overactive bladder is quite common. Although this disorder is easily treatable, you might require a doctor’s help in particular conditions. Changes in behavior, medication, and nerve stimulation can all be used as treatments for an overactive bladder.
Natural treatments, lifestyle, and behavioral adjustments are advised as the first line of treatment for OAB. To control symptoms, you can use a combination of these treatments. The following are some natural overactive bladder treatments:
- Dietary adjustments and fluid control.
- Bladder management strategies.
- Behavioral adjustments.
- Lifestyle modifications.
- Surgery and treatments.
Dietary Adjustments And Fluid Control
Making dietary adjustments is one of the simplest ways to cure OAB. This entails eliminating several foods from the diet known to irritate and reducing fluid intake. Some meals can irritate the bladder and increase the symptoms of an overactive bladder, including spicy foods and acidic foods like lemon or orange juice. The following foods and beverages are known to either cause or exacerbate OAB symptoms and should be avoided:
- Citrus juices and fruit.
- Corn sugar.
- Dairy products like milk and cheese.
- Soft drinks and sodas.
- Spices in food.
- Honey and sugar.
Water consumption is crucial for health. It might seem alluring to attempt to decrease urine production by consuming less fluid. But doing so might result in dehydration. Inadequate water intake can also cause urine to become concentrated, irritating the bladder lining and increasing urgency. However, drinking too much water can also make frequent symptoms worse.
Therefore, controlling fluid intake is crucial. According to a 2016 study published in Research and Reports in Urology, fluid intake should be kept to 6 to 8 glasses of water per day, and drinks should be avoided for 2 to 3 hours before bed. Changing drinking habits can assist with OAB symptoms.
Alcohol and caffeine both have diuretic effects, which means they can increase urine production. Energy drinks, numerous sodas, coffee, tea, and other beverages all contain caffeine. Other beverages that could cause more urination include cranberry juice and other artificial sweeteners-containing beverages. Avoiding all these fluids, especially before bedtime, will aid in controlling the OAB symptoms.
Bladder Management Strategies
It’s frequently advised to train the bladder to stop leaking. There are various methods for doing this:
Planned Tours To The Bathroom
Instead of waiting until you feel the urge to urinate, setting a timetable for urination, such as every two to four hours, helps you stay on track to urinate every day. If you struggle to empty your bladder, using a catheter (tube) occasionally can assist the bladder. You can consult your doctor before using the tube.
Record Urination Patterns
People with OAB can record their urination patterns, such as frequency of trips to the bathroom, leakage, and urgency signs. People should plan restroom breaks every 75 minutes if they urinate every 60 minutes. Regardless of whether you feel like urinating, it’s crucial to use the restroom when it’s time. The individual can gradually increase the interval between bathroom visits.
A Postponed Urination
If possible, the person should try to wait five minutes before urinating each time the desire strikes. Deep breathing and other relaxation techniques could be beneficial. The holding period should gradually increase from 3 to 4 hours between restroom visits.
Those who feel their bladder does not empty can benefit from this strategy. If you want to double-void:
- Lean slightly forward while seated on the toilet and place your hands on your knees or thighs.
- Urinate normally, then wait 30 seconds on the toilet.
- Bend slightly forward and repeat the process of urinating.
This method is called double voiding and helps in completely emptying the bladder.
The most effective method for controlling an overactive bladder is a behavioral adjustment with no negative side effects. The following behavioral approaches may assist in reducing symptoms:
The purpose of these exercises is to strengthen the muscles that regulate urine. They entail contracting, holding, and then releasing the urogenital muscles. These exercises can be done by anyone, anywhere, at any time, but it is best to empty the bladder first. You can engage in bladder training if you can successfully tighten (contract) your pelvic floor muscles.
Kegel exercises entail building up the pelvic floor muscles responsible for regulating urine flow. The routine will strengthen your urinary sphincter and pelvic floor muscles. You may be able to stop the bladder’s involuntary contractions with the aid of these strengthened muscles. You can stop urinating in the middle of it to locate the pelvic floor muscles. If it works, the right muscles have been identified. Squeezing these muscles for 10 seconds, followed by a 3-second relaxation, should be practiced. Your aim should be to perform three sets of 10 repetitions each day. Using deep breathing exercises might help with this.
You can learn how to perform Kegel exercises properly with your doctor or a physical therapist. The effectiveness of Kegel exercises for you relies on how frequently you execute them, just like with any other workout program.
Smoking may exacerbate OAB symptoms. Leaking episodes could be worsened by coughing fits, which some smokers experience. Experts have connected smoking to both male and female symptoms of an overactive bladder.
Training Your Bladder
Bladder training teaches your body to hold off urinating when you desire. You start with short intervals, like 30 minutes, and build up to urinating every three to four hours. The contraction of the bladder triggers the need to urinate. You can engage in bladder training to stifle the urge to urinate. This is done to get the bladder adjusted to hold more urine. Bladder training can be tedious and time-consuming.
Typically, a person starts by holding back the urge to urinate for just a few minutes. They steadily improve until they can go at least an hour without using the restroom. Only those with an overactive bladder should use this method, which requires a doctor’s supervision.
Electric Stimulation Of Muscles
Doctors may also use electrical stimulation of the same muscles to replicate the effects of pelvic floor workouts.
People can alter various aspects of their lifestyle to reduce the symptoms of OAB. Many of the most typical bladder issues can be treated in a less invasive, life-altering manner.
Keeping A Healthy Weight
Stress urinary incontinence is more common in overweight people and may be treated with weight loss. Being healthy in terms of weight can aid in reducing the symptoms of an overactive bladder. Pressure from excess weight can affect the pelvic muscles and bladder. Keeping your weight within a healthy range may aid in bladder control.
Maintaining A Journal
Keeping a food diary that includes food intake and bladder symptoms can benefit those suffering from OAB. People can determine which foods are most problematic by keeping a diary. Maintaining a journal is one of the first stages in dealing with an overactive bladder.
Keep a journal of your urination patterns and any other symptoms you experience for about a week. Doing this might teach you what relieves symptoms and exacerbates them. It can also assist you in describing the problems to a physician. All fluids consumed should be noted. Urination urgency and frequency should also be observed.
Support Groups And Coping
Having an overactive bladder can be challenging. You can find online resources and information from consumer education and advocacy support organizations, which can also put you in touch with people who have an overactive bladder and urge incontinence.
Support groups allow people to share their worries, discover new coping mechanisms, and keep their motivation to practice self-care. Educating your loved ones about your experiences with OAB and how it affects you may help you build your support system and relieve feelings of humiliation. You might be surprised to learn how prevalent this issue is once you start talking about it.
Many individuals suffer from the prevalent, incapacitating illness of overactive bladder, which may be treated with medicines. The muscles and tissues in the urethra and vaginal area can be strengthened with vaginal estrogen therapy after menopause. Vaginal estrogen medications in the form of a cream, suppository, tablet, or ring can significantly lessen the symptoms of an overactive bladder. With drugs that relax the bladder, the signs and symptoms of an overactive bladder can be reduced, as well as the frequency of urge incontinence events.
Supplements And Herbs
Although the available research on these remedies for OAB is limited, many herbs and natural supplements have been suggested.
This combination of ten traditional Chinese medicines can enhance bladder contraction. In one study on men with urinary tract problems, Ganoderma lucidum, a herbal extract from East Asia, was found to reduce symptoms.
This natural treatment is derived from chili peppers. It is suggested as an effective and affordable treatment for hyperactive and extremely sensitive bladders. Moreover, research indicates that pumpkin seed extract is helpful for both nighttime urination and OAB.
In one short trial, it was discovered that taking these supplements helped more than 50% of the female participants with nocturia and urine incontinence symptoms.
According to a 2010 study, women with higher vitamin D levels were less likely to develop pelvic floor issues such as bladder leakage. According to another study, older persons’ episodes of bladder leakage may be related to low vitamin D levels.
Medication may be useful to some people. When using drugs, a person should follow their doctor’s recommendations, and they might need to go to follow-up appointments so the doctor can keep an eye out for any negative side effects. Some drugs are:
These include antidiuretic medications, such as desmopressin. A doctor may advise using an antidiuretic for individuals who predominantly experience issues urinating at night.
A doctor may prescribe these for incontinence or hyperactive bladder. Examples include tolterodine and oxybutynin (Ditropan) (Detrol).
By calming the bladder, mirabegron can help treat an overactive bladder by allowing the bladder to fill and hold pee more easily.
By increasing muscle tone in the urethra, antidepressant drugs may help decrease incontinence. Duloxetine is one illustration (Cymbalta).
But all these drugs contain negative side effects, some of which may be severe. A doctor should review these with the patient and track how they use the medications.
Surgery And Treatments
The most effective way to manage the symptoms of an overactive bladder may be to combine many different treatment methods.
- Psychological treatments.
- Female pelvic floor muscles’ locations.
- Pelvic floor muscles in women.
- Male Kegel exercises target muscles.
- Muscles in the male pelvic floor.
Stimulating The Nerves
The symptoms of an overactive bladder can also be improved by controlling the nerve impulses to your bladder. One method involves placing a small wire close to the sacral nerves, which transmit impulses to your bladder. The trial of a temporary wire placed under the skin in your lower back is frequently used in this minimally invasive treatment.
In some cases, it can be done as a sophisticated surgery involving implanting a permanent electrode and running a longer trial. Then, just like a pacemaker for the heart, your doctor administers electrical impulses to your bladder using a hand-held device attached to the cable. A permanent, battery-operated pulse generator is surgically installed to assist in regulating the nerve rhythm if it relieves your symptom.
A reasonably straightforward and effective treatment for an overactive bladder is nerve stimulation. People whose symptoms do not improve with lifestyle modifications or medication may benefit from this treatment. It might also be beneficial for people who encounter negative medicine side effects. Mild electric currents stimulate the nerves in the pelvic and lower back muscles involved in urinating. It may aid in muscular contraction or promote the development of advantageous nerve cells nearby.
The protein onabotulinumtoxinA, also known as Botox, is a neurotoxin. It is a protein produced by the bacteria that cause the sickness botulism. This protein relaxes the muscles when used in tiny doses and directly injected into bladder tissues. The transient effects typically remain for six months or longer, but further injections are required. Urinary tract infections and urinary retention are side effects of these injections. You should be willing and able to catheterize yourself if urinary retention develops if Botox treatments are something you’re thinking about.
Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation (PTNS)
During this operation, the tibial nerve is stimulated electrically by inserting a tiny needle into the skin close to your ankle. The tibial nerve in your leg, which connects to the nerves that regulate your bladder, is stimulated electrically during this treatment using a tiny needle inserted through your skin close to your ankle. PTNS treatments are administered once a week for twelve weeks to address the symptoms of an overactive bladder. Maintenance treatments will probably be required every three to four weeks to keep symptoms under control.
Sacral Nerve Stimulation (SNS):
This technique is like PTNS, where the electrode is inserted under the skin immediately above the buttocks. This is used to strengthen the nerve in the lower back that aids in managing bladder capacity and urination.
Substitute Medical Care
It has not been demonstrated that any complementary or alternative therapy may effectively cure hyperactive bladder. According to research, acupuncture may help reduce the overactive bladder’s symptoms. You will be treated by acupuncturists utilizing disposable, ultra-thin needles. Consult your insurance provider first to see if complementary therapies are covered.
Surgery is only used to treat overactive bladder in cases where the symptoms are severe, and other treatments are ineffective. The intention is to reduce bladder pressure and increase the bladder’s capacity to hold pee. These techniques won’t, however, ease bladder pain.
In this treatment, a section of your bladder is replaced with pieces of your gut. Only severe urge incontinence cases that have not responded to more conservative treatment options are candidates for this operation. If you go through this procedure, you might need to periodically empty your bladder with a catheter for the rest of your life.
As a last resort, this technique entails removing the bladder and surgically creating a replacement bladder (neobladder) or a bodily orifice (stoma) to which a bag on the skin to collect urine can be attached. The procedure chosen will be influenced by the patient’s sex, the severity of the urine incontinence symptoms, and the reason for the overactive bladder.
There are other surgical options, such as:
- elevating the bladder’s neck (colposuspension),
- securing a portion of the bladder with a sling (sling surgery),
- Mesh insertion into the urethra (vaginal mesh surgery),
- Increasing the size of the urethral walls by injecting bulking substances into the urethra and installing a sphincter. This muscular ring can help regulate urine flow, increasing the bladder’s size, using botulinum toxin (Botox) to relax the bladder, rerouting pee outside the body, and inserting a catheter to handle the overflow.
Surgery is typically only advised by a doctor as a last resort or in certain circumstances.
Bladder Control Supplies
If someone has incontinence, the following products may help them control their symptoms while they wait for successful treatment or if that treatment does not work:
A Portable Urinal
A portable urinal would be useful when you feel the urge to pee but don’t have an appropriate restroom.
A Catheter for Emptying Bladder
As discussed above, a catheter helps in completely emptying the bladder and could come in handy before bedtime.
Pads That Absorb
You won’t need to restrict your activities because absorbent pads or undergarments can protect your clothing and keep you from awkward situations. Different sizes and levels of absorbency are available for absorbent clothing.
The biofeedback sensors show you how to make minor adjustments to your body, like strengthening your pelvic muscles to squelch feelings of urgency better. Muscles are monitored via electrical sensors used in biofeedback. You can use it to track how particular acts impact their body.
For instance, one could perform pelvic floor exercises using a probe in the vagina (for females) or anus to gauge the effectiveness of a movement or exercise (for males). This gadget transmits data to a computer monitor so the user can view real-time feedback. Receiving this feedback can make the person more aware of what functions and what does not. This treatment is occasionally employed to address bladder leakage.
When To Visit A Doctor?
You should visit your doctor immediately if you notice changes in your urine patterns. Urinary frequency and urgency are linked to other illnesses, such as urinary tract infections. Therefore, a correct diagnosis is essential for appropriate treatment strategies. Additionally, it is advised that patients consult a doctor before using any alternative treatments for overactive bladder.
Doctors could then recommend second-line treatments if first-line medications are unsuccessful in alleviating symptoms. One of these might be medicine. If that is also ineffective, surgery or neuromodulation, a technique for changing nerve activity, may be considered a third-line treatment.
Getting Ready For The Doctor’s Appointment
You should probably start by contacting your primary care physician for an overactive bladder. Following your initial session, you can be referred for diagnosis and treatment to a physical therapist, urologist, or urogynecologist. Listed below are some details to help you prepare for your appointment and what to anticipate from your doctor.
What To Anticipate From Your Physician?
Your doctor may evaluate your symptoms using a questionnaire for overactive bladder, which includes inquiries like these:
- How long have you experienced this condition?
- Do you occasionally have urine leaks? How often?
- What activities do your symptoms prevent you from engaging in that you enjoy?
- Do you urinate while walking or bending over during normal activities?
What Can You Do?
Maintain a bladder diary in which you note down your intake of fluids in a day, times when you urinate with or without urgency, whether you feel the need to urinate, and whether you suffer incontinence. Also, mention the frequency you wake up at night to urinate. Inform your doctor of the duration of your symptoms and how they interfere with your daily activities.
Keep track of any additional symptoms you experience, especially bowel-related ones. Inform your doctor if you have diabetes, a neurological condition underwent pelvic surgery, or received radiation therapy. You can also list all the vitamins, supplements, and medications you use because many can interfere with bladder function.
Lead an Overactive Bladder-Free Life!
Control your overactive bladder today and live a stress and nuisance-free life with Bladders Center of America!
Managing overactive bladder OAB can be challenging. But don’t lose hope since nothing matters more than peace of mind and comfortable life. With the help of Bladders Center of America, you can go back to living a more peaceful life with good health. With their latest technology and research, you can find the right medication.
You can employ the natural remedies we mentioned or consult your doctor and start treatment right away. There are certain efficient treatments at the Bladders Center of America for urine incontinence and hyperactive bladders made for men and women. Clinical tests have shown that they can help patients regain bladder control for up to 15 years.
An overactive bladder can impact the quality of life, but several effective treatments are available. Anyone worried about irregular urination patterns should consult a physician. Several things can cause urinary issues. There is a good probability of locating a suitable and efficient treatment choice with a proper diagnosis. Get in touch with Bladders Center of America and start your bladder control remedies today!