What Is Overactive Bladder?
Overactive bladder (OAB) is a condition that affects many individuals who, for one reason or another, are unable to hold urine in regular quantities or for regular periods of time. OAB encompasses a variety of different symptoms, which may also exist at varying levels of severity.
Symptoms of Overactive Bladder
There is often confusion between OAB and some of its most common symptoms. For example, urinary incontinence can be a symptom of OAB, but it is not the same thing as overactive bladder. Urinary incontinence is only a symptom, not a condition. It can also be a symptom of many other urinary issues, and therefore may be brought on by a multitude of health problems.
In addition to urinary incontinence, it is also extremely common for people with OAB to experience a sudden urge to urinate in addition to frequent urination, particularly during the night. The intense urge to urinate often results in an accidental leakage of urine, which typically stems from a type of urinary incontinence such as stress incontinence or urge incontinence.
What Causes OAB?
There are several reasons as to why an individual may experience symptoms related to overactive bladder, including:
- A worsening urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Bladder stones
- Physical inability to reach the restroom in time to relieve your bladder
- Side effects of your medication
- Enlarged prostate (BPH)
- Damage to the urinary system, possibly from a prior surgery
- Inability to empty the bladder
- Tumors of the bladder
- Neurological disorders
- Consumption of diuretics such as alcohol or coffee
In order to determine the specific cause of any person’s overactive bladder, a variety of diagnostic tests and assessments may be performed. This is often comprised of a general physical exam, discussion of you and your family’s medical history, and other tests of the urinary system that include:
- A bladder scan
- A urine culture
- Urodynamic testing
Discussing Treatment at Southeast Valley Urology
Depending upon the individual’s unique case of overactive bladder, Dr. Simoncini or Dr. Shaba will recommend a course of treatment that may consist of one single treatment, or may be a combination of several popular treatment methods.
It is typical to begin treating OAB by trying the most minimal treatments at first, and gradually transitioning to more invasive methods if they are required. The severity of the individual’s condition will also factor heavily into this decision. If lifestyle changes are not enough to relieve the patient’s symptoms, then medications, Botox injections, and nerve stimulation therapy will likely be explored as additional options.
In some cases, the cause of a particular patient’s OAB may be unknown, despite the completion of every diagnostic procedure possible. In such instances, it is best to look for ways in which you can manage the symptoms of overactive bladder. It is also possible to lower your likelihood of developing this condition by utilizing the following preventative strategies:
- Do not smoke
- Avoid diuretics like coffee and alcohol
- Stay regularly active
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Address any known health conditions that may influence or worsen your OAB, such as diabetes or neurological disorders
- Utilize pelvic floor strengthening exercises like Kegels
See a Urologist Today
Symptoms of overactive bladder are not likely to go away on their own. Whether your condition is brought on by a simple urinary tract infection, or is due to an unavoidable chronic health issue, the experienced professionals at Southeast Valley Urology will be able to provide insight into the cause of your discomfort.
To schedule a consultation with one of our urologists, please call (480) 924-7333 today, or submit a request online using our secure form.