According to the National Association for Continence (NAFC), more than 33 million people are living with an overactive bladder (or OAB), defined as the frequent and urgent need to urinate. The Mayo Clinic defines the symptoms specifically as:
• Feeling a sudden urge to urinate that is difficult to control
• Experiencing the loss of urine involuntarily (leaking) following an urgent need to go
• Frequent urination (8 or more times in 24 hours)
• Waking up 2 or more times per night to pee (nocturia)
Men and women may experience OAB for different reasons. According to the NAFC, one in four women over the age of 18 experience leaks, and experience OAB more frequently than men. The causes specific to women include weak urinary sphincter muscles and/or pelvic floor from pregnancy and childbirth, hysterectomy, or menopause. Sixteen percent of men over the age of 18 experience urgency, according to the NAFC. Many cases of OAB in men are caused by an enlarged prostrate. Another cause specific to men is prostatitis.
Both men and women can experience overactive bladder from a variety of conditions including aging, obesity, anatomical predisposition, nerve damage, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, certain medications, infections, and neurologic conditions. The NAFC offers these tips for managing OAB:
1. Avoid bladder irritants like coffee or soda.
2. Stay active to avoid excessive weight gain.
3. Avoid stress and learn some relaxation techniques.
4. Practice using the restroom at specific times (bladder retraining).
5. Practice kegel exercises to keep the pelvic floor strong.
6. Talk to a doctor about other treatment options available.
Pharmaceutical options include topical estrogen (for women), injections, and alphablockers. Oral medications can help but may cause side effects. There are also some additional therapies such as gentle nerve stimulation and injections available for treatment. Surgery is rarely used but can be considered in certain situations.
Increased research funding and participation in clinical studies is the best way to discover new and effective treatments for OAB. Meridien Research has overactive bladder research studies that are enrolling now at our Spring Hill clinic. For more information or to see if you or someone you know may qualify to participate, please contact us today at 352.597.8839 or 888.777.8839, or visit our study pages today.
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