OAB (Overactive Bladder)

Overactive Bladder Treatment Atlanta

Overactive bladder syndrome or OAB is a condition of the urinary system that causes a sudden and uncontrollable urge to urinate. These urges come either during the day or at nighttime. When a person has OAB, they will often suddenly head for the toilet because the urges come suddenly and without any other signs. In some cases, if the urge comes when the person’s bladder is full, there may be some leakage, something that makes OAB a source of embarrassment for those with it.

Urge incontinence is a common symptom of OAB that presents as the involuntary loss of urine when OAB urges come. Between 40 percent and 70 percent of urinary incontinence cases are linked to overactive bladder.

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Causes and Risk Factors of Overactive Bladder Syndrome

People with overactive bladder (OAB) may sometimes not know they have a medical condition and may think it has to do with either their bladder control or the amount of fluid they have taken. However, the condition is well-documented and affects between seven percent and 27 percent of men, and between nine percent and 43 percent of women. Prevalence rates have been found to go up with an increase in age. In most cases, OAB is non-pathological and non-life-threatening so people with it can lead normal lives with the right treatment and management methods in place.

The exact cause of an overactive bladder is currently unknown. However, there are some causative factors that can help describe what happens when OAB occurs. The act of urinating involves several muscles that contract and relax to push the urine out of the bladder through the urethra. These muscles are coordinated by a feedback loop with the brain. When this loop functions properly, the urge to pass water comes when the bladder is full and acts almost as a reflex. With OAB, this feedback loop malfunctions and the smooth muscles that contract to empty the bladder do so at a high frequency and even when the bladder is not full.

This dysfunction in the feedback loop can be brought about by one or more of the following factors:

  • Diabetes
  • Bladder abnormalities such as bladder stones or tumors
  • Neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis
  • Bladder obstruction, such as from an enlarged prostate
  • Excessive intake of alcohol and/or caffeine
  • Aging, which brings about a decline in cognitive functions
  • Serious urinary tract infections (UTIs)

Besides these probable causes, other risk factors that have been linked to OAB include emotional distress and anxiety, both linked to urge incontinence, as well as broader bowel problems like constipation.

Causes and Risk Factors of Overactive Bladder Syndrome

Healthy Lifestyle Tips for Living with OAB

Overactive bladder currently has no known means of prevention. However, there are certain things you can do to prevent escalation of the condition. These can also help you maintain a healthy and positive lifestyle and attitude.

To prevent OAB, try the following:

  • Get your weight to a healthy BMI range.
  • Include more activities and exercise in your daily routine.
  • Lower your consumption of alcohol and caffeinated beverages.
  • Stop smoking.
  • If you have chronic conditions like diabetes, ensure they are well-managed.
  • Perform Kegel exercises to strengthen and tone your pelvic floor muscles.
  • Form a habit of emptying your bladder regularly, before it fills up.

If you suspect you may have OAB, you have probably already begun researching your symptoms online with queries like “overactive bladder treatment near me” or “urologist for overactive bladder near me.” If this is you, call Advanced Urology today at 678-344-8900 to learn more about treatment options and make an appointment.

Alternatively, you may wish to combine your treatment with these healthy lifestyle habits:

  • Increased fluid intake – This will help fill up your bladder and reinforce the normal urge to urinate.
  • Avoid foods and drinks known to irritate the bladder and bowel in general. These include acidic foods, spicy foods, overly sugary foods and artificial sweeteners.
  • Try alternative medicine options like biofeedback, which utilizes electrical/magnetic sensors to get readings of your bodily rhythms. Acupuncture is another alternative treatment that may relieve the tension in your muscles and reduce OAB symptoms.

When to See an Atlanta Doctor for Overactive Bladder Syndrome

Knowing when to see a doctor for OAB requires a combined analysis of overactive bladder OAB symptoms, risk factors, and medical history. If you fall within the scope of high-risk factors, then any form of symptomatic presentation aligned with OAB may be an indication that the condition is present.

You should see a doctor for OAB if you have:

  • Frequent, sudden and difficult-to-control urge to urinate
  • Urge incontinence – Experiencing a loss of urine when these sudden urges to urinate occur
  • Frequent urination – More than eight times within 24 hours
  • Nocturia – Waking up two or more times at night to urinate
  • Stress incontinence – The thought of having an urgent need to urinate stresses you out to the point of losing water.

Overactive bladder, while common especially in older people, is not a normal stage in the aging process. If you have experienced these symptoms, there is a high possibility you have the condition and should seek treatment. In many cases, however, the embarrassment and privacy of the matter lead many to keep the condition to themselves and not seek medical help. While it may be difficult to discuss the matter with your doctor, taking the risk to do so may significantly improve the quality of your life. Your doctor will provide you with lifestyle, behavioral and medical options that can help tame the condition and give you a chance at living a normal life.

When to See an Atlanta Doctor for Overactive Bladder Syndrome

What to Expect When Seeking Treatment for OAB

Diagnosis

OAB diagnosis involves several tests that aim to eliminate other causes of the urges while determining the extent of the condition. To eliminate other causes, your doctor will order a urinalysis, go through your medical history and perform a physical examination. In addition, they will also perform a detailed neurological assessment to isolate any sensory and neurological problems. If you have other chronic conditions associated with advanced age, your doctor will also assess how well these are being managed and whether they may be playing a part in OAB. Other special tests that may be ordered include urodynamic testing to assess how your bladder is functioning and overactive bladder symptom score (OABSS) analysis.

Treatments

Once OAB has been identified, your doctor will recommend treatment based on your age, comorbidity factors and severity of the condition. Treatments will also likely blend behavioral interventions and drug-based therapies.

Overactive bladder treatments include:

  • Regular Kegel exercises
  • Reduction of weight if overweight
  • Timed toilet visits to preempt the sudden urges and ensure your bladder is always empty
  • Devices like catheters and use of absorbent pads
  • Overactive bladder medication to relax your bladder including Tolterodine, Oxybutynin, Trospium, Darifenacin and Fesoterodine.
  • Botox bladder injections to immobilize overactive muscles
  • Nerve stimulation to regularize nerve functioning in the bladder
  • Surgery, for cases involving severe symptoms
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