If you’re struggling with a sudden urge to urinate, you could be one of the more than 33 million Americans suffering from overactive bladder (OAB). Overactive bladder causes sudden, strong urges to urinate and may trigger bladder leaks.
In addition to suffering from anxiety and embarrassment, you may avoid activities you used to enjoy for fear you won’t make it to the bathroom in time.
At Urology Associates Medical Group in Burbank, California, urologist Philip Weintraub, MD, and our compassionate care team want to help men and women suffering from the unpleasant symptoms of overactive bladder.
If you’re one of the 30% of men or 40% of women living with OAB, take a moment to learn more about overactive bladder and the treatments available to help.
What is an overactive bladder?
Overactive bladder, or urgency incontinence, causes a sudden and desperate urge to urinate. Sometimes the urge is so strong, you may not make it to the bathroom in time. This urge can occur even when your bladder is relatively empty.
A problem with your bladder muscles, called detrusor overactivity, is what triggers overactive bladder. Detrusor overactivity causes bladder muscles to misfire and send signals to contract, telling you that you need to urinate before your bladder is full.
Much of the time, it’s difficult to identify one specific cause of overactive bladder. In some cases, OAB seems to develop for no particular reason at all. Some conditions or risk factors may elevate your chances of developing overactive bladder, including:
- Abnormal nerve activity
- Muscle spasms
- Damage to the brain or declining cognitive function
- Neurological diseases
- Urinary tract infections
- Bladder abnormalities
In addition, certain medications can trigger the symptoms of OAB, as can the hormonal changes associated with menopause.
Overactive bladder can be exacerbated by habits or conditions that contribute to your bladder troubles. These include drinking large amounts of caffeine or alcohol, having difficulty walking, and not being able to empty your bladder fully,
What are the symptoms of OAB?
Overactive bladder may trigger a number of symptoms, which can range in severity. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Needing to urinate at least eight times a day
- Experiencing sudden, strong urges to urinate
- Having difficulty controlling urination
- Getting up at least twice at night to urinate (nocturia)
- Leaking urine after getting an urge to urinate (urge incontinence)
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. OAB is quite common and treatable.
Are there treatments for OAB?
Treatment for OAB begins with an accurate diagnosis of your condition. At Urology Associates Medical Group, we’re experienced at identifying OAB so you can get the help you need.
We first review your medical history, paying close attention to any symptoms you describe. If required for diagnosis, we may order lab work or additional testing, such as measuring urine flow rate or a urinalysis.
Once we better understand your condition, we create a customized OAB treatment plan that fits your needs. OAB treatments vary depending on the triggers or contributing factors and the severity of your symptoms and may include:
- Lifestyle changes (e.g., reducing caffeine consumption)
- Bladder injections
- Nerve stimulation therapy
- Behavioral therapies
Get help for symptoms of OAB by contacting us at the Urology Associates Medical Group in Burbank, California. Schedule an appointment by calling 818-853-9679 or requesting an appointment online now.