Every day, adults pass approximately a quart and a half of urine through the bladder. According to NIH, your bladder is located in your lower abdomen and is a hollow organ that stores urine. An overactive bladder, also referred to as OAB, causes a frequent and sudden urge to urinate and may be difficult to control. Sometimes, in severe cases, OAB may lead to the involuntary loss of urine. Knowing the basics of an overactive bladder can help be aware of the causes, symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options.

The Basics Of An Overactive Bladder

According to the Urology Care Foundation, as many as 30 percent of men and 40 percent of women in the United States live with OAB symptoms. However, there are therapies, medications, and self-care treatments to ease your symptoms. Here at Alliance Urology, we understand the complications and embarrassing side effects of an overactive bladder and want to ensure you are equipped with accurate and helpful information. 

What Are The Causes?

A healthy functioning bladder is signaled by the brain when full of urine. In order to store urine,  your bladder’s walls relax and expand. To empty itself, your bladder contracts and flattens, sending the urine through the urethra and out of the body. On the other hand, an overactive bladder causes a frequent and intense urge to urinate, which is not characteristic of a normal functioning bladder. Additionally, OAB can cause a sudden urge to urinate even when the bladder isn’t full.

OAB can have various causes or even a combination of two or more things. Some common causes of an overactive bladder include:

  • Weak or weakening pelvic muscles
  • Neurological disorders
  • Nerve damage
  • An infection of the urinary tract
  • Certain medications

Overactive bladder may be caused due to certain lifestyle factors, including drinking too much caffeine or alcohol, overweight or obesity, and smoking.

What Are The Symptoms?

Being an abnormality of the bladder, OAB typically presents itself as a sudden and frequent urge to urinate. However, according to the Cleveland Clinic, there are other specific symptoms of OAB, including:

  • Urinary urgency: When you feel the urge to urinate, you have a limited time to get to a bathroom.
  • Urination frequency: Urinating very often, or feeling as if you need to urinate despite your bladder not being full.
  • Incontinence: Leakage of urine when you get the urge to urinate.
  • Nocturia: Waking up more than two times during the night with the urge to urinate 

Your urge to urinate throughout the day may vary depending on how hydrated you are. However, frequency and urgency are the main OAB symptoms. 

What Are Treatment Options?

A urologist is a medical doctor specializing in disorders relating to the urinary tract and is considered the best fit for diagnosing conditions such as an overactive bladder. Generally, your doctor will compile information regarding your health history to learn about any past urinary conditions and the symptoms you are currently experiencing.

Different treatment options for OAB include medications and therapies. OAB therapies often incorporate muscle strengthening and training exercises such as bladder training and pelvic floor exercises. Other lifestyle tips for managing OAB include smoking cessation, avoiding drinking non-water fluids before activities or bedtime, and keeping your weight down. To read more about medication treatment options for OAB, visit this resource.

To diagnose and treat any common problem related to the bladder or genitourinary system, including an overactive bladder, schedule an appointment with one of our providers. Our team has years of experience treating issues pertaining to the urinary tract, bladder, and male reproductive system. For questions or to learn the basics of an overactive bladder, please call our office in Greensboro at (336) 274-1114.