Overactive bladder (OAB) is not a disease but a name for a group of urinary symptoms. OAB is a common condition and can affect both men and women. OAB is NOT a normal part of aging. OAB is a bothersome condition because it can impact every aspect of one’s life including work, exercise, extracurricular activities, and even sex.
A sudden uncontrollable urge to urinate is the most common symptom. Other symptoms include the need to go urinate frequently or get up a lot at night. Those affected with OAB may (OAB Wet) or may not (OAB Dry) leak urine.
Pelvic organ prolapse and menopause can predispose women to OAB. Any disease or injury that affects the nervous system can cause OAB, such as, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and spinal cord injuries. Personal behaviors may contribute to OAB symptoms such as excessive caffeine or fluid intake.
After you discuss your symptoms with your health care provider, they will review your past medical and surgical history, medications, and dietary habits to assess possible causes. Many times a physical exam, urine analysis, and post-void residual (how much urine is left in your bladder after you urinate) will be done. You may be asked to keep a bladder diary, where you will note how often you go to the bathroom and any time you leak urine. A cystoscopy (looking into your bladder with a camera) or a Urodynamic testing (tests that see how well your bladder stores and releases urine) may be required.
There are a number of treatments for OAB. Treatment will depend on what your health care provider determines to be the cause. Treatments can be as simple as lifestyle changes or may involve medications or surgical procedures.
Procedures offered at Urology Centers of Alabama include: