Overactive bladder (OAB) is the name for a group of urinary symptoms. It is not a disease. The most common symptom is a sudden, uncontrolled need or urge to urinate. Some people will leak urine when they feel this urge. Another symptom is the need to pass urine many times during the day and night. OAB is basically the feeling that you’ve “gotta’ go” to the bathroom urgently and too much.
You already know ... the urgency and frequency associated with trips to the restroom are disrupting your life. You know other women struggle with this condition, but most hesitate to talk to their doctors.
You may not know ... OAB is also called Urge Incontinence, and is one type of Urinary Incontinence. OAB is really a neurological condition. A special area in the brain controls bladder function. Once you have decided whether to void or to hold, a signal is sent from the brain back down the spinal cord to the bladder, telling it what to do. In certain cases with women, these nerve loops become disoriented so that the normal process of coordinating this event malfunctions and instead of your brain telling your bladder what to do, your bladder starts doing what it wants.
You need to know ... urgency and overactive bladder are treatable through non-surgical or minimally invasive procedure. We can provide the latest approaches to treat OAB with little impact to your daily life.
We recommend patients adopt a bladder-friendly diet. Our team will work with you to help you find the right dietary solution to support on-going treatment plans. Recommendations are to limit or avoid carbonated and caffeinated beverages, alcoholic drinks, sports drinks such as Gatorade, citrus fruit, tomato and tomato-based products such as ketchup and chili, chocolate, spicy foods, and foods containing sugar, artificial flavorings, and preservatives.
Several medications are available to treat the symptoms of overactive bladder or urge incontinence. These medications improve the communication between the brain and the bladder to reduce bladder spasms.
Retrain your bladder
Tell your bladder when to go, not the other way around. We will recommend that you set a time interval for you to follow during the hours you are awake. You should do your best to only go to the restroom during those times. For example, if you are advised a 2-hour interval and on a particular day wake up at 6:00 AM, then you should only urinate at 2-hour intervals from then (8 AM, 10 AM, etc.). If you feel the need to use the restroom at a non-advised time, perform a kegel and try to ignore the urge to urinate. Generally, doing so is successful after about 30 seconds. If the urge remains, use the restroom, but be sure to still urinate at your upcoming advised time. For example, if you urinate at 7:30 AM and were scheduled to urinate at 8:00 AM, still try and do so again at the latter time. Once you are able to meet your goal time easily, begin to increase times between urination by 15 or 30 minutes and continue to do this until you can make it to 3 or 4 hours between voiding times.
Bio-identical Hormone Therapy
Many times the muscle fibers and tissue around the bladder neck have become so hormonally deficient, they have begun to atrophy and lose their strength and ability to support both the vagina and bladder. Replenishing and nurturing these tissues with natural hormones may correct urinary incontinence if the tissue structures are not too far beyond repair.