What is overactive bladder?
Overactive bladder (OAB) is a condition caused by involuntary spasms of the muscle within the bladder wall. In Canada, OAB affects approximately 1 in 6 members of the adult population. Despite its prevalence, OAB is not a condition you hear mentioned often, as many are too embarrassed to talk about their symptoms, even with their physician. Studies suggest that only 26% of those suffering from OAB seek help from a medical professional.
What are the symptoms of overactive bladder?
Symptoms of OAB include:
- Frequent urination (more than 8 times per day or more than once at night)
- Uncomfortable, strong urge to urinate
- Sometimes loss/leakage of urine due to urgency sensation
What causes OAB?
While OAB is more common as we age, it is not a “normal” part of the aging process. In many cases the cause of OAB is unknown. The following identifiable causes can lead to symptoms of OAB: nerve damage caused by pelvic trauma, bladder stones, and neurological conditions (Parkinson’s, MS, stroke).
Is OAB a treatable condition?
Yes. OAB is a very treatable medical condition. Untreated OAB drastically reduces quality of life, and many who suffer in silence become embarrassed, self-conscious, and often develop anxiety and/or depression. If you think you have OAB, don’t suffer in silence. Speak with your physician or pharmacist and start a treatment plan today.
How is OAB treated?
Treatment of OAB may include one of or a combination of the following options:
- Drinking 6-8 glasses (8 oz. each) of water per day
- Avoiding food and drinks which irritate the bladder (caffeine, citrus fruits, artificial sweeteners, tomatoes, sodas, alcohol, and spicy foods)
- Bladder Retraining Program
- Physical Therapy such as pelvic floor muscle exercises, commonly called “Kegel” exercises
- Prescription mediations
- In rare cases, surgery may be performed when all other treatments fail
If you feel you are suffering from OAB, schedule an appointment with your physician as soon as possible. For 2 days before your appointment, keep a bladder diary. Record the time of what and how much you eat and drink and when you go to the bathroom. Also keep track of any leakage and if something like sneezing or laughing causes you to have a leak. This diary will help your doctor diagnose OAB as well as help develop a treatment plan. For more information on OAB and related conditions speak with one of our pharmacists today or visit http://www.nafc.org/.