Overactive Bladder (OAB)

Overactive bladder (OAB) is not a disease but a name for a group of urinary symptoms and a common condition that can affect both men and women. It 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. Click here to read more about managing your OAB.

The prevalence of OAB increases with age and studies show that as many as 43% of women suffer from some form of OAB.

Symptoms:

There are several signs and symptoms for OAB since it covers a group of conditions, but some of the most common include:

  • Sudden, uncontrollable urge to urinate
  • Leakage that cannot be stopped
  • Frequent urination (8+ times each day)
  • Nocturia (waking more than once per night to urinate)

Those affected with an overactive bladder may (OAB Wet) or may not (OAB Dry) leak urine.

Causes:

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.

Diagnosis:

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.

Treatment:

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.

First Line:

  • Behavioral therapies: bladder training, bladder control strategies, pelvic floor training
  • Pharmacological management

Second Line:

  • Medications: These are several medications that a physician may try, but some of the side effects of the medications may dictate which medications may be used.

Third Line:

  • Botox: This is an in-office treatment that uses Botox to calm the nerves that trigger the overactive bladder muscles, which cause incontinence.
  • Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation: A needle electrode is used to send an electrical pulse to the Tibial nerve, in an attempt to stimulate the nerve, to decrease the frequency of urination.
  • Sacral Nerve Stimulation: This is a non-invasive procedure that involves sending electric pulses through externally attached electrode pads, to the sacral nerve.

Procedures offered at Urology Centers of Alabama include:

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