Understanding an Overactive Bladder

Having an overactive bladder is more than a simple inconvenience. If leakage becomes unpredictable or you never know when or how often you’ll need to find a restroom, you may unconsciously start to withdraw from social settings. Over time, depression or anxiety may set in.

As many as 40% of women may have overactive bladder, but only a fraction of them seek treatment. There are, however, a variety of treatments that can help you regain control over your bladder and urinary urges. A visit to Southeast Urogyn is a great place to start. Their doctors can diagnose the reasons behind your condition and advise you on the best treatment options.

Understanding bladder function

Normally, your bladder receives urine, which is produced by your kidneys. When full, urine passes from your bladder through your urethra, which is controlled by the urinary sphincter.

Nerve signals from your bladder to your brain let you know when you need to urinate, and the brain coordinates voluntary and involuntary muscle functions to give you control over bladder release.

Overactive bladder occurs when the muscles controlling bladder contractions start to act without coordination due to abnormal nerve activity.

Causes of overactive bladder

There are many reasons why the bladder muscles can begin to act involuntarily. Neurological conditions, including multiple sclerosis and stroke, may interfere with normal nerve function, and diabetes can sometimes cause nerve changes that result in overactive bladder.

Furthermore, for women who are approaching or are in menopause, the accompanying hormone changes may be behind the issues as the tissues of the genitourinary system change.

Treating overactive bladder

There are a number of ways you may be able to help regain control of your bladder, including the following:

Lifestyle changes

The first thing your provider may check is to see if the symptoms are due to things that are not related to overactive bladder. For instance, urinary tract infections (UTIs) often create symptoms that resemble overactive bladder. Furthermore, consumption of caffeine and alcohol, and using certain medications can lead to symptoms similar to overactive bladder.

Bladder retraining

With bladder retraining, the object is to train your brain to overcome what your bladder wants to do. Some options may include delayed voiding, which involves resisting the urge to go. At first, you just resist for a few minutes. Then, as you’re able, you extend the time you resist.

Another option is double voiding, which means you urinate partway and hold it for a few seconds before finishing emptying your bladder. You can also try setting a schedule. 

Botox injections

With this treatment, Botox® is injected into your bladder muscle to temporarily paralyze it. The effects usually last 6-8 months, at which time you can get another shot.

InterStim Therapy

With InterStim® Therapy, a small device is implanted in your lower body to disrupt the nerve signals causing the overactive bladder reflex.

If you have overactive bladder and want treatment, or if you want to see it you have the condition, book an appointment over the phone with Southeast Urogyn today.

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