Overactive bladder, or OAB, is defined as a problem with bladder function that causes the sudden need to urinate. When people start to get older, they often accept this as a normal part of life. The good news is that it is actually a very treatable disorder by a change in behavior or medication.
While many older women may start to experience overactive bladder, it is a condition that affects about 17% of women over age 18, and 16% of men. After age 40, it changes to 20% for both men and women.
Two of the most highly practiced options are pelvic floor exercises and behavioral training. These options help strengthen your system and provide systematic awareness and control over your urinary habits and needs. Medication can be prescribed along with behavior changes. Medications can help combat OAB by blocking nerve signals related to bladder muscle contractions. Some research suggests that medications may event increase your bladder capacity and decrease your urge to go. In some cases, your doctor may also recommend “third-line” therapies such as Botox, PTNS and Interstim if other treatment methods have not been successful.
While sometimes doctors prescribe a change in your daily fluid intake, trying to self-treat with this method may make your OAB worse. Withholding water can lead to dehydration, and can result in more concentrated urine, which actually irritates the bladder more. It is typically recommended to increase water intake and reduce your intake of coffee, sodas and juices.
If you think you or a loved one is struggling with overactive bladder, please consult with a doctor for an official diagnosis and treatment. Call Arkansas Urology at 1-877-321-8452.