What is overactive bladder?
An overactive bladder (OAB) is a problem with bladder storage functions that causes a sudden urge to urinate. This urge may be difficult to stop and can lead to unwitting discharge of urine (urinary incontinence).
Millions of people around the world have problems with overactive bladders. According to the National Association of Continence, one in five people over the age of 40 has an overactive bladder or experience disorders related to this condition.
About 85% of these people are women. In the women’s group, one in four people experience urinary incontinence in their lifetime. Although there are many factors that cause one of these bladder diseases, you can prevent it by reducing existing risk factors.
Overactive Bladder Causes
When the bladder is full of urine, the brain will signal the bladder to remove it immediately. The bladder muscles will squeeze so that urine comes out through the urethra. When the bladder is not full, then the muscles will relax.
Under normal conditions, the brain will signal that the bladder is full but you can still hold it. But unlike the case with overactive bladder, you can’t resist the urgency to pee, even if your bladder isn’t full yet. In overactive bladder sufferers, nerve signals don’t work perfectly.
There are several risk factors for a person having an overactive bladder, namely:
- Neurological disorders
- Hormonal changes
- Weak pelvic muscles or spasms.
- Urinary tract infections
- Side effects of certain treatments.
- Brain or spinal diseases, such as stroke or multiple sclerosis.
Overactive Bladder Symptoms
The main symptom of overactive bladder is the urge to urinate suddenly and so strongly that you can’t hold it. Not infrequently this makes you afraid to wet the bed if you do not immediately urinate.
With overactive bladder, you can also experience urine leakage or bedwetting when you have urinated, urinate with a very frequent, and often wake up in the middle of the night and in the bathroom just to urinate.
Overactive Bladder Diagnosis
There are a variety of factors that can cause overactive bladder. This is why doctors need to perform a series of examinations to determine the diagnosis. Here are the various checks you will undergo:
View medical history
At this stage, you need to mention each symptom that you experience, when symptoms start to appear, how severe the symptoms are, and their effect on daily activities. You also need to tell your doctor about your diet and medication.
Your doctor will examine your entire body to look for anything that might be the cause of an overactive bladder. This stage includes examination of the abdomen, organs inside the pelvis, and rectum.
Keep a urination journal
You may be asked to keep a urination journal for the next few weeks. This journal contains:
- How much fluid you drink.
- When and how much you urinate.
- How often do you want to feel urination?
- When urine comes out unnoticed and how much.
If needed, your doctor may also perform a complete examination that includes:
- Urine test. Your urine sample is checked for blood or signs of infection.
- Bladder scan. Scans generally use ultrasound, CT scans, MRI, or X-rays.
- Another test. Urodynamic tests to measure the ability to urinate or cystoscopy to see the condition of the urinary tract.
How to treat overactive bladder?
Consultation with a medical expert is the right action to find out how to handle the appropriate for those of you who have overactive bladder. However, there are some common things to do to deal with this disorder, among others:
- Reduce the consumption of foods and drinks that can interfere with the bladder, such as coffee, tea, and spicy foods.
- Make a diaries urinate. This method will make you better understand what triggers an unbearable sense of peeing and avoid it.
- Exercise in holding the pee. Start by holding the pee for a minute or two, this way you can hold it longer. However, this method needs to get approval from a medical expert first.
- Create a urination schedule. This method can help prevent the unbearable urge to pee.
- Do bladder muscle exercises, such as Kegel gymnastics, quick flick, and biofeedback.
- Taking special medicines. But, this step needs to be based on a doctor’s prescription.
- Nerve stimulation. This step also needs to be based on the approval of the doctor.
- Medical surgery