Managing Your Overactive Bladder

Managing Your Overactive Bladder

Did you know 33 million American adults have a condition called overactive bladder (OAB), a type of urinary incontinence? This disorder causes you to feel out of control over your bladder, leading to leaks and urgent trips to the bathroom. 

OAB can detract from your quality of life, making it difficult to get through your normal daily activities. While 30% of men and 40% of women have OAB, many don’t get the diagnosis or care they need to effectively manage their symptoms and reclaim their quality of life.

At Urological Associates in Charlottesville, Virginia, our board-certified providers specialize in diagnosing and treating different types of urinary incontinence—including overactive bladder. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about OAB and the things you can do to manage this condition.

Overactive bladder 101

Overactive bladder, or urge or urgency incontinence, leaves you with a sudden and desperate urge to empty your bladder. This urge can be so strong that you might not get to the bathroom in time—even if you only have a small amount of urine in your bladder. Here’s a closer look:

OAB overview

OAB develops when the detrusor muscle that contracts your bladder stops working correctly. Instead of sending signals to pee when your bladder is close to full, with OAB this muscle contracts frequently, including when your bladder is empty.

Researchers call this “detrusor overactivity,” but they aren’t sure exactly why some people develop it. They have, however, identified certain risk factors associated with OAB, including:

In addition, OAB may get worse if you engage in certain behaviors, like drinking alcohol or caffeine, or if you have a medical condition that makes it difficult for you to fully empty your bladder as needed (e.g., limited mobility).

Signs and symptoms of OAB

Overactive bladder triggers different signs and symptoms. These can range from mildly inconvenient to severe and may include:

Although it’s natural to feel embarrassed by these symptoms, there’s no reason to feel this way. Remember, OAB is a very common condition experienced by millions of men and women. If you have symptoms, talk to a provider at Urological Associates. 

Living with OAB

Living with OAB can be frustrating since the symptoms of the disorder may trigger embarrassment, shame, and anxiety. Making key lifestyle changes can help you live with OAB and its symptoms, including:

For many people, these changes may not be enough to fully manage your symptoms of OAB. The good news is that medical treatments exist that help you take back control of your bladder and your quality of life. 

Effective treatments for OAB

If lifestyle changes aren’t enough to help you manage your OAB, the providers at Urological Associates offer effective treatments and interventions designed to help you manage your symptoms. 

Your provider begins by reviewing your medical history, paying close attention to your OAB symptoms. Your provider may order lab work or additional testing, such as measuring urine flow rate or a urinalysis, to ensure an accurate OAB diagnosis. 

At Urological Associates, we create personalized OAB treatment plans to meet your unique needs. Depending on your triggers, any contributing factors, and the severity of your symptoms, besides lifestyle changes, your provider may recommend: 

Ready to take control of your overactive bladder? Learn how we can help by scheduling an appointment online or over the phone at Urological Associates in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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