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Our Overactive Bladder Specialists
Dr. Korman, Howard
Dr. Kearney, David
When you have overactive bladder (OAB), your bladder muscles contract too soon. This gives you a strong sudden need to urinate, even when your bladder isn’t full and creates a “gotta go” sensation. You may also have urge urinary incontinence, meaning you leak urine after you have a sudden urge:
As we age, women and men are more at risk of developing overactive bladder, but it’s not a normal part of aging. Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- strong, sudden urges to urinate
- urinating more than 8 times in 24 hours or waking more than 2 times at night to urinate
- not making it to the bathroom in time
- accidental loss of urine in small or large amounts
The Truth About OAB
OAB is not a normal part of getting older.
OAB is not just part of being a woman.
OAB is not just an issue with the prostate.
OAB is not caused by something you did.
Surgery is not the only treatment for OAB.
There are treatments to help people manage OAB symptoms.
There are treatments to help even minor OAB symptoms.
Urgency: The major symptom of OAB is a sudden, strong urge to urinate that you can’t ignore. This “gotta go” feeling makes you fear you will leak if you don’t get to a bathroom right away. You may or may not actually leak with this urge to go.
If you live with OAB, you may also:
Leak urine or have “urge incontinence.” This means urine leaks when you feel the sudden urge to go. This isn’t the same as stress urinary incontinence or SUI. People with SUI leak urine when sneezing, laughing or doing other physical activities.
Urinate frequently. You may need to go to the bathroom many times during the day. The number of times someone urinates varies from person to person. Many experts agree that going to the bathroom more than eight times in 24 hours is “frequent urination.”
Wake up at night to pass urine. If you have to wake from sleep to go to the bathroom more than once a night, it’s a symptom of OAB or nocturia.
To diagnose OAB and rule out other conditions, your doctor will do a physical exam and discuss your medical history. In addition, a urologist may order the following tests:
- Urinalysis: a sample of your urine to check for infection, blood or other abnormalities
- Urodynamic Testing: a series of tests to measure how well your bladder and urethra function
There are many treatment options for overactive bladder. Most people who are treated see an improvement in their symptoms.
- Lifestyle Changes: Adjusting activities that make your OAB symptoms worse – such as eating or drinking caffeine or acidic foods – is the first step in treating OAB.
- Bladder Retraining: Through retraining, you learn to resist the urge to go and increase control over how much urine your bladder can hold. Your doctor can set up a retraining schedule for you.
- Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy: Working with a physical therapist or health care provider who specializes in the pelvic floor muscles can help you learn to strengthen and control the muscles involved in urination. One type of exercise to strengthen the pelvic floor is called a Kegel.
- Medications: These relieve the frequent urges by blocking the nerve that signals your bladder to contract too soon.
OAB Treatment Options
Sometimes, medications don’t work or have undesireable side effects. Here are additional OAB therapies you should discuss with your doctor if OAB continues to negatively impact your quality of life:
- Botox for OAB – uses botulinum toxin (BOTOX®) in the bladder muscle can keep it from contracting too often. This popular treatment provides relief for 6-9 months.
- Axonics for OAB – uses gentle nerve stimulation thought to normalize bladder-brain communication.
- InterStim for OAB – uses gentle nerve stimulation thought to normalize bladder-brain communication.
- PTNS for OAB – Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation, or PTNS, is a non-surgical treatment for OAB. PTNS can help reduce OAB symptoms by relaxing the bladder muscles.
Frequently Asked Questions
The number of times you need to urinate each day varies based on your fluid intake, but generally, you should urinate no more than 8 times in 24 hours.
While it may seem like a good idea, limiting fluids can cause your urine to be more concentrated and irritate your bladder, making you have to urinate more often.
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