Postgraduate Medicine

Postgraduate Medicine

Medical Journals

Overactive bladder is a common problem that affects people of all ages but occurs most often in adults who are 60 years or older. Whether you’re under over 60, this article will answer the following questions that you might have about overactive bladder (OAB): 

  • What is an overactive bladder and how does it affect the body? 
  • What are the symptoms of an overactive bladder? 
  • What is the best treatment of overactive bladder? 

What is Overactive Bladder And How Does It Affect The Body?

Overactive bladder, also called urinary urgency or frequent urination, is a condition that causes an urgent need to go to the bathroom.

It is not uncommon for people suffering from this condition to suddenly feel the need to use the toilet. They may go several times in an hour or even wake up multiple times at night with urges to use the toilet.

People suffering from an overactive bladder may find themselves always running to the bathroom and often feel like they are not getting enough time between these urges to go. This can make them not only uncomfortable but also irritated or frustrated when they are feeling like they are always having to rush off for a bathroom break. The constant trips can result in missed opportunities and a feeling that they’re not in control of their own body.

Symptoms of Overactive Bladder

The symptoms of an overactive bladder are seen as increased frequency of urination, an urgency to go, and incontinence. A person with OAB has an urge to go frequently, often does not make it to the toilet in time, and may lose control of urine. These symptoms can be life-altering and debilitating, as mentioned in the preceding paragraph.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Feeling like you need to go to the bathroom urgently, but not making it in time.
  • Having a strong feeling of needing to go, even when your bladder is empty or you’ve gone to the bathroom recently.
  • A strong urge or sudden pressure to urinate that can be difficult to suppress.
  • Feeling like you’re going all the time; sometimes more than seven times a day; and often at night while sleeping (nocturia).
  • Feeling like your bladder never fully empties

The two main causes of overactive bladder are urinary tract infections and bladder irritants. After the UTI is treated or the irritant is removed, some people will experience an improvement in symptoms that last for days or weeks.

Best Treatment of Overactive Bladder

It is difficult to say for sure what is the best treatment of overactive bladder, so we will mention a few methods that appear to be most effective.

The most natural one is to avoid drinking too much water, eat healthy food, and maintain a regular schedule of urination.

A couple of the treatments also include herbal remedies. However, these can be expensive and need to be taken over a long period of time. One way you can prepare them is to dry the herbs in an oven or on a stovetop at low heat for about an hour. Then you put them in a jar and cover them with olive oil, sesame oil, or sunflower oil.

Another option is surgery. This treatment is more invasive but it does have results that last for years without the need for medication.

Other Types of Treatment of Overactive Bladder

In addition to the natural-, herbal-, and surgery- treatment of overactive bladder, there are also other methods that people use. These include:

Immediate relief medications: These work by relaxing the muscles of the bladder to prevent or lessen feelings of urgency or urge to urinate.

Behavioral therapy: This type of therapy involves the use of cognitive-behavioral techniques to interrupt the pattern of over-activity. This may include avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods that can aggravate symptoms. It also includes relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing that can be helpful in reducing tension.

Bladder training exercise: The aim of bladder training is to teach the patient how to control the timing and frequency of their urine flow by establishing a regular routine. The goal of this exercise is to have a regular routine so that your bladder can learn when it needs to be emptied.

Bladder instillation: This is an effective way to control an overactive bladder. There are three main types of bladder instillation: antibiotics, anticholinergics, and botulinum toxin. Antibiotics work by reducing the bacterial load within the urinary tract. Anticholinergics work by blocking the effects of acetylcholine which is what causes the contraction of bladder muscles. Botulinum toxin is a powerful muscle paralytic that can be injected into the bladder to relax the bladder muscles. This treatment is FDA approved and has been shown to reduce urinary incontinence in up to 75% of patients.

Regardless of the treatment you choose, it will help you live better with an overactive bladder.