About 30 percent of women experience an overactive bladder, characterized by an urgent and frequent need to empty the bladder.
Symptoms include a sudden urge to urinate, frequent urination, and in some cases, involuntary loss of urine, also known as urge incontinence.
Definition of urge incontinence: This refers to an unexpected and uncontrollable contraction of the bladder's muscular wall, leading to an immediate and overwhelming need to urinate.
While overactive bladder can affect people of all ages, it is more common in older adults.
Risk factors include childbirth, age, obesity, menopause, chronic constipation or straining, and smoking. Common risk factors for these conditions include:
- Childbirth: Vaginal childbirth can weaken the pelvic floor muscles and damage the nerves, increasing the risk of these conditions.
- Age: As you age, your risk of developing these conditions increases.
- Obesity: Extra weight can pressure the pelvic floor muscles, leading to these conditions.
- Menopause: Lower estrogen levels after menopause can weaken the pelvic floor muscles.
- Chronic Constipation or Straining: Regular straining can weaken the pelvic floor muscles.
- Smoking: Chronic coughing from smoking can lead to these conditions by putting constant pressure on the pelvic floor muscles.
However, it's important to remember that an overactive bladder is not a normal part of aging or a consequence of childbirth, and effective treatments are available.
Our approach to treating overactive bladder is comprehensive and patient-centered. Each patient has unique treatment needs; our medical teams tailor treatment to meet individual needs and lifestyles.
- Medication: Several medications can help manage the symptoms of an overactive bladder by calming the bladder muscles and reducing the urgency and frequency of urination.
- Pelvic Floor Therapy: Non-surgical treatment like this involves exercises to strengthen the muscles that help control urination and reduce the symptoms of an overactive bladder.
- Bladder Training: This involves training the bladder to delay urination after getting the urge to go. It may also include scheduled bathroom trips and managing fluid intake.
- Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation (PTNS): Like acupuncture, this minimally invasive procedure involves stimulating the tibial nerve to help control bladder function.
- Botox Injections: Botox can be injected into the bladder muscle, causing it to relax and increasing its storage capacity, which can reduce episodes of urinary incontinence.
- Sacral Neuromodulation: involves implanting a small device under the skin to send mild electrical pulses to the sacral nerves, which can help manage overactive bladder symptoms.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse: The pelvic organ, such as the bladder, drops from its normal place in the lower belly and pushes against the walls of the vagina. The muscles that hold the pelvic organs in place get weak or stretched. Symptoms include pressure or fullness in the pelvic area, a bulge in the vagina or rectum, and discomfort or lack of sensation during sex.
Overactive Bladder: Overactive bladder is a condition with an urgent and frequent need to empty the bladder. Symptoms can include a sudden urge to urinate, frequent urination, and involuntary loss of urine, also known as urge incontinence.
Stress Urinary Incontinence: Urine leaks out with sudden pressure on the bladder and urethra, causing the sphincter muscles to open briefly. This can happen with physical movement or activity such as coughing, sneezing, running, or heavy lifting.
Fecal Incontinence: Fecal incontinence is the inability to control bowel movements, causing stool (feces) to leak unexpectedly from the rectum. Symptoms can range from an occasional leakage of stool while passing gas to a complete loss of bowel control.
Obstetric Birth Trauma: Trauma from birth can cause damage to the pelvic floor muscles during childbirth. Symptoms can vary widely but may include any of the above conditions, pain during sex, chronic pelvic pain, and lower back pain.
While not all cases of overactive bladder are preventable, specific lifestyle changes can help manage symptoms and reduce the risk of developing the condition. These include pelvic floor exercises, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and addressing chronic constipation.
Overactive bladder can be treated by various types of healthcare professionals, including:
Urologists: These are doctors who specialize in diseases of the urinary tract in both men and women.
Urogynecologists: These are obstetrician-gynecologists who have additional training and specialize in treating pelvic floor disorders, including overactive bladder, in women.
Gynecologists: These doctors specialize in women's reproductive health, and some have experience treating overactive bladder.
Primary Care Physicians: These doctors can often diagnose and treat overactive bladder and can refer you to a specialist if necessary.
Geriatricians: These are doctors who specialize in the care of older adults, and they often have experience treating overactive bladder, which is more common in older people.
Physical Therapists: Some physical therapists specialize in pelvic floor therapy, which can effectively treat overactive bladder. Remember, it's important to discuss any symptoms or concerns with a healthcare professional. They can provide you with the most accurate information and treatment options based on your individual circumstances.
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Support and education are vital components of managing an overactive bladder. We provide various resources to help you understand your condition, explore treatment options, and connect with others experiencing similar challenges.
Remember, you're not alone in managing an overactive bladder. We're here to provide the care, treatment, and support you need. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward regaining control of your bladder health.