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Overactive Bladder or OAB is marked by the near constant urge to urinate, which can lead to urinary incontinence or leakage. OAB is also known as Overactive Bladder Syndrome or Idiopathic Urge Incontinence. However we refer to it, this condition can be identifyable by the following incontinence symptoms:
- Urgency – a sudden and unexpected need to pass urine.
- Urge Incontinence – you just don’t make it in time and you may leak a little or a lot.
- Frequency – needing to go to the toilet too often. A daily average should be about eight times.
- Nocturia – waking up more than once to go to the toilet during the night.
OAB or urinary incontinence can cause physical symptoms as well as fear, anxiety, and even shame around sex and intimacy.
What causes an overactive bladder?
- Some medications – Diuretics or ‘water tablets’ for example.
- Caffeine – everything from coffee to cola to caffeine in pain killers.
- Alcohol – may make OAB symptoms worse.
- Medical conditions – Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, uterine fibroids and spinal cord injury.
What can you do about it?
Overactive bladder has been called the closet disorder as most people with this condition just live with it despite the fact that there are successful treatments.
- Kegels – Kegel exercises or pelvic floor exercises will help strengthen the kegel muscles in your pelvic floor giving you greater control.
- Bladder Retraining – Putting your loo visits on a schedule can help you gain more understanding and control over your bladder. In bladder retraining, you go to the loo only at regular intervals - say, every two hours. If you have to go before your scheduled time, use Kegel exercises or relaxation techniques to hold it in until the urge passes. Over time, you will be able to train yourself to go less frequently, with longer intervals between visits.
- Vaginal Pessary – A pessary device inserted into the vagina presses against the bladder neck and urethra so you have less leakage.
- Prescription Medications – Some drugs can treat incontinence related to an overactive bladder. Anticholinergics can help to control bladder contractions. A tricyclic antidepressant may sometimes be prescribed to help relax the bladder muscle. Side effects from these drugs can include dry mouth, fatigue, blurred vision and constipation. Some people may not be able to take these medications, however.
- Surgery – Procedures may include sacral nerve stimulation, augmentation cystoplasty and urinary diversion.
- Bulking Agents – Injections of collagen and other bulking substances can thicken the tissues around the bladder neck to narrow its opening.
- Botulinum Toxin A Injections – This treatment involves injecting botulinum toxin A into the sides of your bladder. It dampens down the abnormal contractions of the bladder but it may also damp down the normal contractions meaning your bladder can’t empty properly. This would then require catheterisation.
Incontinence or bladder weakness is usually a sign you need to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and this is where Kegel8 can help. Take a look at our range of Kegel8 electronic pelvic toner machines and specialist pelvic floor exercisers to help you regain control of your bladder without the need for medications or surgery.