Overactive Bladder

Current literature suggests that overactive bladder (OAB) is mostly under reported.  The theory is that many patients feel there is no treatment and that urinary incontinence is a normal process of aging.  It is known that OAB affects quality of life of the affected individual.  What is not regularly know is how significant this is.

Individuals will go to great lengths, utilizing various coping strategies, in order to hide their OAB from family, friends and co-workers.  Through this process they may  need to face psychological  difficulties such as fear, shame and guilt.  OAB patients will have concerns regarding odor and cleanliness and may also have concerns about placing additional burdens on family members when they need assistance with toiletry issues such as cleaning,shopping for incontinence supplies and doing their laundry.

Individuals may refrain from intimacy with their partners for fear of leaking during sexual activity.  Travel and work may be significantly limited for fear of being exposed due to a public bladder catastrophe.  All of this leads to emotional and physical isolation.

Even though many elderly patients may have symptoms of overactive bladder, OAB is not a normal consequence of aging.  If you, or a family member,  experience  any or all of the following symptoms, please discuss the possibility of OAB with your physician.

     The need to urinate 8 or more times a day or  2 or more times per night.
     The sudden, immediate, strong urge to urinate immediately.
     You regularly leak after urination.

Overactive bladder is primarily a bladder muscle problem.  For one of many reasons, the bladder automatically begins to contract, emptying before it needs to.  Many different disease states, either muscular or neurological, may create an environment where the bladder will begin contractions, regardless of the amount of urine that has accumulated in the bladder.

This contraction of the bladder may cause an urge to urinate and, at times, may be very difficult to control.  This loss of bladder control may lead to involuntary loss of urine, which is called incontinence.

Genitourinary antispasmodic medications help to relax the bladder muscles, regardless of the cause, This relaxation of the bladder muscles allows the bladder to fill to normal, or near normal capacity, before the urge to urinate is felt.

To learn more about the medications used to treat OAB, please visit the Overactive Bladder page on the AudibleRx website and listen to the Medication Specific Counseling Sessions.


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