Overactive Bladder (OAB) is one of the most common forms of incontinence. It falls under urge incontinence, which is different from stress incontinence that causes accidental urine leakage when a person laughs or coughs. Urge incontinence occurs when the urinary muscle spasms contract to indicate the urgency to urinate, thus the name. Although this can occur in both males and females, it is more common in women with a large number of cases occurring during pregnancy. If you suspect having this condition, this list of symptoms would strengthen your theory and perhaps aid in your decision to see your doctor about it.
Symptoms of Overactive Bladder
The most common symptom of overactive bladder is experiencing the need to urinate immediately. If you feel like you need to urinate often such as 8 to 10 times a day, this may be a sign that your bladder is overactive. This condition would have you waking up to make a trip to the restroom 2 or more times a night.
Sometimes, even if you have just gone to the bathroom, you would feel the immediate need to go back again. In addition to that, you also find yourself more and more often inside the restroom and everytime you go there, you only urinate a little. Incontinence or accidental urine leak is also a major symptom. It’s possible for a person to experience just a few of these symptoms or have each one of these.
Diagnosis of Overactive Bladder
First, your doctor will run a physical exam. He/she will also talk to you to find out what kinds of fluids you take in and how much you drink everyday. He/she will also inquire about how often and how much you urinate or have accidental leaks. To make things easier for you, jot down these notes prior to your medical checkup so you can readily give accurate answers. Apart from this, you will undergo a urine test, blood test, and pelvic exam (for women) or rectal exam (for men). If your doctor thinks you have additional health problems such as prostate disease or diabetes, you will be subjected to further examinations.
Causes of Overactive Bladder
The primary cause of an overactive bladder is an overactive muscle in this organ that releases urine. Many factors can cause this muscle to become overactive and these include bladder infection, stress, and other ailments like Parkinson’s disease or stroke. In most cases, however, it is hard to pinpoint which of these is the actual cause of the condition. In addition to these, some medicines have been found to cause an overactive bladder so if you are taking any medication, make sure you consult your doctor if you begin to experience any of the symptoms mentioned earlier. Of course, you must not stop taking your medicines without talking to your doctor first.
Treatment of Overactive Bladder
The first step in treating an overactive bladder is to establish urinating schedule at home. By urinating on schedule such as every 2 hours, you can form the habit of bladder retaining, which in turn helps you in regaining control over your bladder. It would also be effective to engage in Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic muscles that can control urine flow. Cutting down on caffeinated drinks can also help. If none of these works, consult your doctor as soon as possible.