Do you suffer from an overactive bladder (OAB)? If yes, then you probably know how painful it is to go through each day.
OAB is a condition where you experience a frequent urge to urinate or involuntary leakage of urine.
Overactive bladder affects millions of people worldwide. The symptoms include sudden urges to urinate, leaking urine at night, and having trouble sleeping.
If you suspect that you or someone you know may be suffering from an overactive bladder, then fear not.
This guide will help you to identify the symptoms, as well as what causes this condition and how you can prevent it.
What Is An Overactive Bladder?
As mentioned above, an overactive bladder is defined as a condition where there is a regular need to urinate, or accidental loss of discharge during sleep.
It’s also known as “urge incontinence”, “urinary incontinence”, or “urgency syndrome”. It is a fairly common condition, so you should not be ashamed of it.
However, this does not mean that an overactive bladder is a standard element of life. You can take steps to prevent this condition from getting worse.
The most important thing about an overactive bladder is that it is treatable.
There are many different ways to manage your symptoms, including medications, lifestyle changes, and surgery, which we will explore later.
What Are The Symptoms Of OAB?
The first overactive bladder symptom is often a strong urge to pee. This might happen any time of the day, but especially in the morning.
Some people even feel an urge to pee while they are asleep. Urges to urinate can be accompanied by pain, burning sensation, or discomfort in the pelvic area.
You might also find it difficult to control your pee, thus experiencing urinary urgency. This may lead to you accidentally releasing urine when you do not intend to.
Such accidents may occur at night, or even during the daytime. This can differ from person to person.
In addition, some patients with an overactive bladder have trouble falling asleep because of their constant need to urinate.
They wake up frequently throughout the night, and this can cause them to become exhausted. As a result, they cannot fall back asleep easily.
If you suffer from OAB, you will also experience frequent trips to the bathroom.
For instance, if you often need to urinate more than eight times in 24 hours, you likely have OAB.
What Are The Causes Of OAB?
Several factors contribute to the development of an overactive bladder. These include:
In some cases, these small stones created by minerals may appear in your urine. This normally occurs when urine is kept in the bladder for an extended period.
To prevent this, you should urinate as soon as possible.
Urinary Tract Infections
A UTI can affect the nerves that control the bladder, resulting in an overactive bladder. A urinary tract infection is caused by bacteria entering the bladder.
Being overweight increases the pressure on your bladder. This makes it harder for your bladder to empty itself.
Problems With The Nervous System
Certain conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and spinal cord injury, can cause problems with your bladder.
If you have experienced a neurological disorder, such as a stroke, then you are more prone to develop an overactive bladder.
Diabetes can damage the nerves that help regulate your bladder function. This can make it hard for your bladder to work properly.
Menopausal women tend to have a higher risk of developing an overactive bladder due to hormonal fluctuations.
Pregnant women usually experience increased levels of hormones, which can lead to an overactive bladder.
Moreover, pregnancy can weaken pelvic floor muscles, making it harder for you to control urine.
Prostate Or Bladder Cancer
Cancerous tumors can grow inside your prostate or bladder. These tumors can block the flow of urine, leading to an overactive bladder condition.
If you suspect that this may be the cause, we urge you to consult a doctor immediately.
Side Effects Of Drugs
Many drugs and medications can cause side effects, including an overactive bladder.
If you take certain types of medication, you could be prone to having urinary incontinence.
Increased Fluid Intake
Drinking too much water or other fluids can increase the amount of urine produced by your kidneys.
This leads to an overactive bladder since your bladder does not get emptied as quickly.
Certain drinks particularly cause this, such as those that contain alcohol or caffeine.
If you think that this is responsible for your urinary urgency, you may want to avoid these drinks, such as coffee.
How Is OAB Diagnosed And Tested?
If you are experiencing the symptoms of OAB, it is a good idea to speak with a doctor.
This is especially true if you think that you have cancer or that your overactive bladder is negatively impacting your life.
OAB has certain risk factors that you should be made aware of, which means that it is vital to get tested.
Among these risk factors are that your chances of developing certain illnesses, such as an enlarged prostate, are heightened.
To get diagnosed, you may be asked to complete a bladder diary.
This involves recording how often you urinate during the day, as well as when you go to the bathroom.
You will also need to note down any symptoms you experience, such as pain or burning while urinating.
Your doctor will likely ask about your medical history, so that can determine whether there are any underlying causes for your overactive bladder.
You will likely also need to participate in a physical examination.
During this exam, your doctor will check to see if you have any signs of OAB, such as enlarged prostate.
Though physical examinations can be intimidating, you shouldn’t panic. After all, these doctors are trained professionals.
To test for the condition, you may also need to undergo an urodynamic test.
This test measures the pressure within your bladder, along with the strength of your bladder contractions.
It can also measure the size of your bladder, among other things.
How Can OAB Be Treated?
The best way to treat an overactive bladder is through lifestyle changes.
You must learn how to manage your symptoms effectively so that they do not interfere with your daily life. Some of these treatments are:
Exercise helps strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which play a key role in controlling your bladder.
It also improves blood circulation around your pelvis, helping to keep your organs healthy. This exercise also encourages weight loss.
Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises
Pelvic floor exercises are important for treating OAB. They stimulate the muscles in your pelvic area and improve their strength.
These are also known as kegel exercises. You may also need to try bladder training, which involves trying to add structure to your urination.
Medications can help relieve the symptoms of OAB. Of course, you will likely need to speak with your doctor to get a prescription for these medications.
Antispasmodics are the main form of medication used to manage overactive bladder symptoms.
Wearing Adult Diapers Or Absorbent Pads
While wearing adult diapers or using absorbent pads may seem like a drastic measure, it’s quite effective at relieving some symptoms associated with OAB.
Many people find them helpful. They will absorb any liquids, meaning that you don’t have to be concerned about an accidental loss of urine.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Differences Between An Overactive Bladder And Stress Incontinence?
Stress incontinence occurs when you leak urine due to increased abdominal pressure. An overactive bladder is characterized by a frequent compulsion to urinate.
Essentially, they have different causes. Moreover, stress incontinence is linked with psychical activity, whereas OAB rarely is.
Is OAB Serious?
Yes, OAB is serious. It can lead to urinary tract infections and kidney problems. The good news is that most cases of OAB can be treated successfully.
However, it’s essential that you seek professional treatment, especially if your symptoms are severe.
Overall, an overactive bladder can be quite frustrating for both men and women. Fortunately, though, there are several ways to effectively manage this condition.
As a result, this condition does not need to control your life. With the suggestions above, you can manage your OAB so that it is much less of a problem.