When the bladder wall has involuntary contractions that are immediate, this creates an overwhelming urgency and need to urinate which leads to urinary incontinence. Overactive bladder is common in older adults, affecting about 1 in 11.

What Are the Symptoms of Overactive Bladder?

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Some of the most common symptoms associated with overactive bladder include:

  • Difficulty controlling the urge to urinate resulting in the involuntary loss of urine (urge incontinence)
  • Frequent urination
  • Sudden feelings of urgency
  • Waking up at night multiple times with an urgent need to urinate

Whether you’re able to make it to the restroom or you start having urinary accidents, overactive bladder can be disruptive to your normal routine, causing stress and potential feelings of insecurity or embarrassment.

What Are the Causes of Overactive Bladder?

There isn’t one chief cause of overactive bladder. Some of the factors that can lead to the types of involuntary bladder contractions associated with OAB include:

  • The occurrence of bladder abnormalities including growths such as tumors or the presence of bladder stones
  • Incomplete emptying of the bladder can lead to urgency due to urine remaining in the bladder after urination
  • Urinary tract infections can create symptoms that are usually associated with overactive bladder.
  • Medications such as diuretics and other drugs that cause accelerated urine production
  • Taking lots of fluids
  •  Excessive alcohol or caffeine consumption
  • Diabetes
  • Neurological issues including stroke or multiple sclerosis
  • Degenerative problems such as a decline in mobility or cognitive impairment can lead to increased urgency due to inability to move or because of neurological factors that hinder the communication between the brain and bladder

When to See a Doctor

If you’re currently experiencing disruptive symptoms related to overactive bladder, talk to your doctor about what treatments are available. While this isn’t always a comfortably topic to discuss, rest assured that you’ll be treated with discretion and dignity. There’s no reason to avoid speaking candidly about this issue with your physician. Diagnosing overactive bladder may include urodynamic testing which require a specialist to measure different metrics related to your bladder health including urine flow rate, bladder pressure and the amount of urine left in the bladder after urination.

What Are the Treatments for Overactive Bladder?

Conservative measures

There are conservative measures which can help treat the symptoms of overactive bladder without requiring a medical procedure. These include:

  • Diet and exercise - maintaining a healthy weight and remaining active can help.
  • Smoking cessation
  • Effectively manage chronic illnesses like diabetes
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol and caffeine
  • Do Kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor.
  • Intermittent catheterization

Medications

There are a range of medicinal approaches available. There are drugs that can help relieve the symptoms related to overactive bladder and subsequent urge incontinence. The most common side effects related to medicines prescribed for OAB include dry mouth, dry eyes and constipation.

The most common forms of these drugs include Oxybutynin, Tolterodine, Trospium and others.

 

Other medical options

If medications and conservative measures have failed to treat your OAB symptoms, other options include nerve stimulation, Botox injections as well as surgery.

Surgical options include a procedure to increase the bladder’s capacity as well as bladder removal as a last resort, but these are rarer cases.

 

How Advanced Gynecology Can Help

Our board-certified team of specialists and surgeons is here for you to diagnose the cause of your overactive bladder and work to find the best treatment plan for you.

For more information, schedule an appointment today or call 678-263-0280 to speak with one of our patient coordinators.

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