An overactive bladder is a condition resulting from the sudden, involuntary contraction of the muscle in the wall of the bladder. This form of bladder dysfunction is associated with a strong desire to urinate (urgency) usually with frequent voids (frequency) and/or night voids (Nocturia) with or without urinary incontinence (Urge Incontinence). In most men an enlarged prostate is the cause of OAB, but there are numerous other factors that can lead to symptoms.
An infection in the bladder, bladder stones, or bladder cancer can all be contributing factors in the development of OAB. But there’s no need to suffer, as long as you’re aware of the effective treatments that are available. The following information should be used in conjunction with support from your doctor to help you find the right course of treatment best suited to your individual needs.
Treatment Options For An Overactive Bladder
The choice of a particular treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms and the extent that the symptoms interfere with the patient’s lifestyle.
Pelvic Floor Exercises (Kegels)
Strengthening the pelvic floor (the group of muscles that wrap around your bladder and rectum) can help with OAB symptoms. Squeeze the muscle just above the entrance to the rectum and hold for 3-5 seconds. Aim for 10 sets of 10 squeezes a day, and you should start to see improvement in symptoms in several weeks to months.
This is the most common OAB treatment that doesn’t involve medication. Bladder training helps change the way you use the bathroom. Instead of going whenever you feel the urge, you urinate at set times of the day, called scheduled voiding. You learn to control the urge to go by waiting — for a few minutes at first, then gradually increasing to an hour or more between bathroom visits.
Overactive Bladder Medications
There are several brands of overactive bladder medications available to treat urge urinary incontinence. These medications work by relaxing the bladder muscle. Side effects are usually mild and include dry mouth, dry eyes, blurred vision, urinary retention, constipation, dizziness and drowsiness. The different brands of overactive bladder medications include:
Some symptoms of overactive bladder can be managed by changing your diet. Keeping a diary of what foods you eat and how much fluids you consume can possible help you form a correlation between consumption and urination. Avoid diet sodas that contain caffeine and artificial sweeteners like aspartame or saccharin, which also are bladder irritants.
Surgery to treat overactive bladder is reserved for people with severe symptoms who don’t respond to other treatments. The goal is to improve the bladder’s storing ability and reduce pressure in the bladder. However, these procedures won’t help to relieve bladder pain.
Whatever treatment you and your doctor decide upon for overactive bladder, it’s important that you stick to it. If you do, the chances are good that your condition will improve over time.