Overactive bladder (OAB) can be a real nuisance. But misinformation makes this common condition even harder to handle. Get the research-based truth today about your frequent and sudden urges to pee with difficulty holding in urine. Then you can control your bladder instead of it controlling you.
1. Don’t Only Older Women Get OAB?
At least 33 million Americans have overactive bladder. Forty percent of all women and 30 percent of men in the United States live with this common condition. It’s most prevalent in post-menopausal women. OAB strikes women after age 44 and men with prostate problems after 64 typically, but younger people aren’t immune. About 17 percent of females and 16 percent of males over 18 suffer from this condition, according to the National Association for Continence.
2. Shouldn’t I Drink Less Liquids?
Although lowering your fluid intake will reduce your need to urinate, smaller highly concentrated urine amounts may irritate your bladder more. Dark yellow urine that smells strong increases voiding frequency and encourages bacterial growth. The National Association for Continence recommends drinking 48 to 64 ounces of fluid throughout the day. Avoid caffeinated drinks and cranberry juice, which are diuretics that increase your urge to pee.
3. Aren’t Stress and Urge Incontinence the Same as OAB?
With OAB, nerves surrounding your bladder send abnormal signals to your brain that you need to urinate — even when your bladder isn’t full. It causes the urge to pee more than eight times a day or at least twice overnight. Leakage also may occur with OAB. Sphincter or pelvic muscle weakness causes stress incontinence, leaking with coughing, sneezing, laughing, straining or strenuous exercise. You can have both OAB and stress incontinence at the same time. Infections, diabetes and stroke can cause urge incontinence, leaking after a strong need to pee.
4. Isn’t Traveling Impossible with OAB?
The thought of escaping to an exotic destination might sound enticing — unless searching frantically for restrooms in unfamiliar locales fills you with dread. But taking Vesicare (Solifenacin)daily blocks abnormal bladder signals that trigger your urge to urinate, freeing you from OAB’s inconvenient symptoms. Use a toilet whenever you have the chance — even when you don’t feel that’s necessary. Instead of panicking when the urge to urinate strikes, squeeze and release your pelvic muscles two or three times. This will short circuit your sudden need to pee and give you more time to find a restroom.
5. Won’t I Need Surgery for OAB?
Pubovaginal slings are becoming increasingly popular for stress incontinence in women. A stretchy band supports the urethra, the tube that empties urine from the bladder, to prevent it from opening and spilling urine accidentally. But this surgery doesn’t alleviate OAB’s urgency and frequency. Take your bladder relaxant medication for ongoing symptom relief instead. Reduce bladder irritants like caffeine, artificial sweeteners and alcohol. Also practice Kegel exercises to strengthen your bladder control and manage your OAB.