Overactive bladder

What is an overactive bladder?

Having an overactive bladder (OAB) means that your bladder has trouble storing urine. It causes a sudden and frequent urge to urinate that may be difficult to control. It can also trigger incontinence, an uncontrollable urine leakage. Common symptoms of OAB include:

  • Feeling of a sudden urge to urinate that is difficult to control
  • Being unable to hold your urine
  • Unintentional loss of urine, immediately after sudden urge
  • Urinating 8 or more times in 24 hours
  • Needing to urinate more than two times in the night

These symptoms may affect your daily life by affecting your sleep quality, causing unintentional disruptions during work, and making it difficult to plan trips. 

Causes of overactive bladder 

There are a variety of lifestyle habits and physical conditions that can influence the development of overactive bladder. Women are often more affected with the condition than men. Although no single cause may be determined, it is often a result of a combination of factors. OAB is often caused because of spasms in the main muscle of the urinary bladder, known as the detrusor muscle. The brain sends out nerve signals when it senses that the bladder is almost about half full. This causes the sphincter muscle – muscles that keep the urethra closed to hold urine in the bladder and pelvic floor to relax, whereas the detrusor muscle contracts and squeezes out urine.

These detrusor muscle contractions occur at random in people with an overactive bladder, causing a sudden urge to urinate. Even though there is very little urine in the bladder. The leakage of urine occurs depending on how the urinary sphincter muscles react. Other established causes of OAB include neurocognitive disorders and nerve damage as this interferes with nerve signaling. However, there is a lack of research to better understand the role of the nervous system in overactive bladder. Some definitions of overactive bladder refer to neurological causes, whereas others refer to it as a result of nervous system conditions that affect the bladder. 

Overactive bladder may also be caused because of age-related changes, weak pelvic muscles, and medical conditions, for example, bladder obstruction and Parkinson’s disease. Sometimes the cause can be unknown. Irrespective of the cause, overactive bladder is a treatable condition. You can discuss your symptoms with a urologist in Lahore to rule out the cause of your overactive bladder.

Treatment for overactive bladder 

Although, the first line of treatment for overactive bladder is often lifestyle changes, medications and minimally invasive surgeries are also treatment options. Several factors, for example, being overweight, diet and smoking increase the likelihood of developing overactive bladder. Prevention and management options for overactive bladder, as recommended by the best urologist in Karachi, include: 

  • Staying hydrated
  •  Weight loss 
  • Treating chronic constipation with diet and medication 
  • Exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscle
  • Treating bladder infections 
  • Reduce coughing by quitting smoking 
  • Regularly exercising, including Kegels for strengthening pelvic floor muscles 

Similarly, there are several different foods and drinks that worsen the condition. Salty foods, coffee and alcohol can act as diuretics, increasing the output of urine and trips to the bathroom. Spicy foods irritate the lining of the bladder and cause discomfort. Dehydration also irritates the bladder lining and makes the discomfort of spicy foods more intense. A few dietary changes can help reduce the symptoms significantly.

The symptoms of overactive bladder may be difficult to control because of their unpredictability but there are several treatments available that can help manage the symptoms.

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