What is an Overactive Bladder?
The bladder is a muscular organ located in your pelvic area, which stores urine. The bladder has some internal muscles that contract and allow the flow of the urine through the urethra to the exterior. Overactive bladder is a common condition in which you might feel a sudden urge to urinate, leading to the involuntary loss of urine.
Overactive Bladder Signs and Symptoms
For most people, having an overactive bladder represents a limitation in their daily and social life and also have some psychological implications. Additionally, in case you have overactive bladder, you might have the following signs and symptoms in your body:
- Sudden urge sensation to urinate without being able to control.
- Urine incontinence, which is the involuntary loss of urine.
- Increased urination frequency, especially during the night.
Overactive Bladder Common Causes
Overactive bladder occurs as a consequence of the involuntary contractions of the bladder muscles. These involuntary contractions are responsible for the urgent urination sensation that you might experience.
There is a wide-open list of possible conditions that might lead to overactive bladder, including:
- Neurological disorders.
- Structural bladder abnormalities like tumors.
- Recurrent urinary tract infections.
- Conditions that obstruct the normal urine flow, like benign prostatic hyperplasia or chronic constipation.
Overactive Bladder Diagnosis
In case you show the signs and symptoms related to overactive bladder, your doctor might follow some steps to make a proper diagnosis:
- Full medical history and physical exam.
- Urine sample, in order to confirm that your symptoms are not caused by an infection.
- Focused neurological exam.
Additionally, your doctor might perform some special tests to confirm the diagnosis, which involves a simple urodynamic test, to assess the function of your bladder and its ability to empty steadily and completely.
Overactive Bladder Treatment
Overactive bladder treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms and your preferences. Usually, conservative treatment and behavioral interventions are the first choice and tend to be effective. For more severe cases, there are other treatment options that range from medications to surgery.
Some of the treatment options included in this treatment group are:
- Pelvic floor muscle exercises or Kegel exercises, which are some movements that strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and urinary sphincter and are effective in controlling the bladder involuntary contractions.
- Having a healthy weight.
- Setting a daily schedule for urination.
Some medications are effective in relaxing the bladder muscle and relieving the symptoms of overactive bladder. Your doctor will explain any medications suitable for prescription such as anticholinergics and antimuscarinic.
In selected cases if your symptoms are too severe or if you haven’t shown any improvement with the above treatments, your doctor might suggest surgery as a valid treatment option. The main goal of overactive bladder surgery is to improve the bladder’s ability to store urine and reduce pressure in the bladder. Surgical techniques include endoscopic surgery such as urethral dilation and bladder hydrodistension.