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overactive bladder

Overactive Bladder: A Common and Treatable Condition

Overactive bladder (OAB) is not a disease, it is the name of a group of urinary symptoms. In most cases, OAB is usually also used to describe a condition that is not tied to a urinary disease but is tied to specific symptoms. About 33 million Americans have overactive bladder. As many as 30 percent of men and 40 percent of women in the United States live with OAB symptoms. It is important to know what OAB is and to know the symptoms because our bodies change as we age and OAB can become more common with age. Being educated about the symptoms included in OAB can make diagnosis and treatment that much quicker.

The bladder is a balloon-like organ that is part of the urinary system along with the kidneys, ureters, and urethra.  The urinary system is in charge of producing, storing and eliminating urine. The urine is created by the kidneys and then this liquid waste is transferred through the tubes called ureters from the kidney to the bladder. When the bladder is full, the waste is urinated through the urethra. Since the urinary system is so complex, it can be susceptible to many issues like OAB for a number of reasons and causes.

Common Causes of Overactive Bladder

  • Excessive fluid intake, such as drinking more water or too much liquid than the urinary system can handle
  • Excessive caffeine or alcohol intake. Alcohol can be a trigger for an already overactive bladder
  • Medication-induced side effects, such as effects from diuretics which is made to increase the amount of water and salt expelled from the body.
  • Medical disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, strokes (CVA)
  • And more

Overactive Bladder Symptoms

  • A frequency in urination, such as needing to use the restroom over 10 times in one day
  • Nighttime urination, the body waking you up multiples times a night in order to urinate
  • The sudden urge to urinate with or without loss of urine

Common Treatment for Overactive Bladder

Everyone’s body is different. One person with OAB may be noticing completely different symptoms than others, so treatments can be vastly different on a case by case basis. Some common treatment options are:

  • Kegel or pelvic floor exercise
  • Limiting fluid intake
  • Medications
  • Behavior modification
  • Dietary changes
  • And more

Diagnosing Overactive Bladder

In most cases, diagnosing OAB is simple and can be taken care of by a routine history and physical. Occasionally tests are required to confirm a diagnosis. These tests include urinalysis and culture as well as lab work screening for renal disease as well as diabetes. Other common tests are a flow study and/or a urodynamic study and at times a cystoscopy.

If any symptoms above are recognizable, make an appointment by contacting Dr. Howard Tay, MD, a board-certified urologist who has practiced urology since 1996. Dr. Tay will work with you and come up with a plan based on your specific symptoms. Set up an appointment today on his website or call 602-337-8500.

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