Do you have Overactive Bladder (OAB)?
If you answer yes to the following questions you may be experiencing Overactive Bladder (OAB).
- Do you often have a sudden and intense urge to urinate?
- Do you leak urine or have a strong urge to urinate when you walk in your door, hear running water, or when you see a bathroom?
- Do you avoid drinking fluids for fear of spending even more time going to the bathroom?
Overactive bladder (OAB) is a common condition that affects millions of Americans. Overactive bladder isn’t a disease, it is defined by the urinary symptoms you are experiencing. The most significant symptom is a sudden and intense urge to urinate that you cannot control. This actually is a spasm of the bladder muscle. Some people will leak urine when they feel the urge.
As many as 30% of men and 40% of women in the United States live with OAB symptoms. Many people think that OAB is just part of aging. But it is not! Also, many people think that surgery and medication is the only option for OAB when in fact there are other successful treatments that can be done for OAB.
What can you do about OAB?
Start by talking with your doctor. Many people do not talk to their doctor about this problem because they think it is a normal part of getting older. Your doctor then will likely collect a urine sample to make sure you do not have a urinary tract infection or have blood in your urine. If these are negative your doctor may offer you medications for the symptoms. It has been shown in research that medication along with physical therapy for the pelvic floor is even more successful than medication alone. If your doctor does not offer physical therapy please ask about it.
Physical therapy for OAB will include education on diet and fluid intake, evaluation of the bladder and pelvic floor musculature, and exercise to improve the pelvic muscles to help control urinary leakage.
OAB can get in the way of your work, social life, exercise, and sleep. Without treatment, OAB symptoms may make it hard to get through your day without lots of trips to the bathroom. You may also find that you avoid social activities because of fear of having to use the bathroom or leaking urine on the way to the bathroom.
You don’t have to let OAB symptoms change your life. There are treatments available to help. If you think you have OAB, see your healthcare provider.