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Health A to Z

What Does It Mean To Have An Overactive Bladder?

Dr. Pamela Dias

It is a condition where the frequent need to urinate negatively affects a person's life.

What does it mean?

It is a symptom that means an increased urge of urination with or without urinary incontinence (involuntary urination). For example more than or equal to at least 8 times a day.  

Do you identify with an overactive bladder?

An overactive bladder occurs with a ratio of 1:1 in males and females, where 42% in males ≥75 years and 31% in females ≥75 years. Multiple factors can lead to it, in women mostly after menopause and men mostly if there is an enlarged prostate. 

The urinary bladder wall is made up of detrusor muscle which is innervated and helps in contraction and relaxation of the bladder. If there is a dysfunction in both or either(neurogenic or myogenic) of these, stress-related factors like cough, sneezing, increased abdominal pressure, or even hypertrophy of prostate in men; it may lead to the following symptoms:-  

If you think you have any of these symptoms and if you fit the age group or have an underlying condition like BPH or neurological issues, it is mandatory to visit the hospital for diagnosis which is done by exclusion (ruling out other genito-urinary disorders first). As to diagnose OAB there are a few criteria that have to be met, once the underlying cause is found, the symptoms of OAB can be managed by treatment. 

Diagnosis by

  • Taking a good focused history on genito-urinary disorders, measuring the pressure, volume and pattern of urination
  • Genitourinary, pelvic and rectal examination
  • Urinalysis to rule out any infection and blood in the urine
  • Urodynamics in older people to rule out obstruction
  • Ultrasound abdomen and pelvis to check for post-void residual urine in the bladder
  • Cystoscopy (visualization of the bladder) to rule out pathological conditions of the bladder, for example, bladder cancer

What do you expect as a treatment for OAB?

One may expect initial nonpharmacological methods such as behavioral therapies such as bladder training, strategies to learn bladder control, strengthening of pelvic floor muscle, plenty of hydration and avoidance of irritants to bladder like coffee and alcohol. 

Pharmacological agents like antimuscarinics, beta 3 adrenoreceptor agonists, neuromodulation, injecting botulinum toxin or nerve stimulation are among others if required. 

“Maintaining good health should be the primary focus to everyone”

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