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What Is Overactive Bladder Syndrome?

The bladder is a sac made of muscle. With overactive bladder syndrome, the muscle contracts suddenly even when if not full, leaving one without control. This condition is not due to an enlarged prostate gland (in men) or a urine infection. The exact cause is not known. Overactive bladder syndrome affects around 1 in 8 adults.

Symptoms of overactive bladder syndrome

Common symptoms of overactive bladder syndrome (OAB) include urgency, frequency, nocturia and urge incontinence.  Getting up multiple times during the night, needing to go 8-9 times daily or leaking uring before getting to the toilet are all signs to be aware of with OAB.

Treatment for overactive bladder syndrome

People suffering from overactive bladder syndrome may find making some lifestyle changes will help. Most of these changes are common sense but are worth mentioning.

Getting to the toilet

This should be made as easy as possible. Making some adaptations such as fitting a raised toilet seat or handrail.

Drink less coffee

Reducing caffeine intake is advised. Try to avoid caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, energy drinks, and soda.

Drink less wine

Although wine does have some health benefits, avoiding alcohol altogether is often advantageous. Like caffeine, alcohol can directly stimulate the bladder and increase urgency.

Consume fluids normally

A reduction in fluid intake may not reduce the need to go to the toilet so often. Cutting back on the amount of fluid consumed can make symptoms worse as urine becomes more concentrated. Drink enough water throughout the day as recommended by a physician.

Weight loss

Overweight individuals often find being at a healthy weight will reduce symptoms, particularly incontinence.  Losing weight should be discussed with a physician.

Regulate trips to the toilet

People who suffer from overactive bladder syndrome often fall into the habit of going to the toilet more often than necessary because of the fear of leakage. This activity can also make symptoms worse. Frequent trips to the toilet allows the bladder to adjust to holding less urine. Over time, this may make a bladder overactive when it is only stretched a little.

Bladder training for overactive bladder syndrome

The goal of bladder training is to stretch the bladder gradually, so it can hold a larger volume of urine.   Doctors advise people with OAB on how to practice bladder control. Keeping a journal is often required to adjust the urinary frequency.

Medication for overactive bladder syndrome

If bladder training alone does not lead to a significant improvement, a physician may prescribe antimuscarinic medications. These medications work by blocking some of the nerve impulses in the bladder to increase capacity.