I’m sure you know that feeling when a very full bladder prompts you to secure the nearest restroom facility so that you can relieve yourself from the pressure. Now imagine having that feeling throughout the day, every day. People with overactive bladder have to use the restroom constantly, and at times may have urine leakage. They deal with signals from the brain which erroneously tell the bladder to empty itself when the bladder isn’t even full. The result is that the bladder contracts, creating a strong urge to urinate.
People who suffer from overactive bladder urinate much more than normal (which is up to 8 times per day), and may urinate up to 30 or more times per day. Even when a sufferer urinates, he or she may feel as if the bladder still has urine in it. Restroom visits may be stacked together, sometimes within 10 to 15 minutes of each other.
Two-thirds of people who have overactive bladder experience the dry type, while the remaining third have the wet variety, which is characterized by leakage of urine. Advancing age is a primary risk factor for development of this condition, but the following also play a role:
Presence of urinary tract infection
Nerve damage from surgery
Neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s or stroke
History of bladder stones
History of bladder or prostate cancer
Consumption of spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol
If you have any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical evaluation and treatment:
Use the restroom more than eight times a day
Cannot sleep through the night without waking up at least 1 or 2 times to urinate
A sudden and intense urge to urinate
Some lifestyle modifications can lessen the symptoms of overactive bladder. They include maintaining a normal weight, drinking less fluid in the evening, smoking cessation, and limiting the consumption of alcohol and caffeine. Pelvic floor exercises can be incorporated to strengthen the supporting muscles and provide some relief. As a last resort, a number of prescription medications exist to treat overactive bladder.