We like to be in control, don’t we? We take charge of our calendars, our business, our diet. When life feels chaotic or we sense we are losing control of something, we stress, worry, and fret about how to regain control. But what if that control is lost? We feel helpless, confused, and discouraged. If you have overactive bladder (OAB), you feel out of control multiple times a day every day. And in order to control your level of discomfort and embarrassment, you may sacrifice your relationships and your social life. At Mississippi Urology Clinic, we want to alleviate your sense of helplessness and discouragement by giving you several options to treat OAB.
What Is Overactive Bladder?
The bladder holds the urine that was processed in the kidneys. Once the bladder is full, nerve signals notify the brain that it’s time to urinate. During urination, nerve signals simultaneously trigger the bladder to contract, sending urine out of the bladder, and trigger the pelvic floor and urethra to loosen so that urine is released. Someone with OAB feels the need to urinate before the bladder is full because the muscles in the bladder contract involuntarily and excessively. Incontinence—the uncontrollable loss of urine—is often paired with OAB and accompanies the frequent urges to urinate.
What Are The Symptoms?
Symptoms of overactive bladder include:
- Uncontrollable urge to urinate
- Unable to stop urine from leaking (incontinence)
- Urinating eight or more times a day
- Waking up multiple times each night to urinate
What Are The Causes?
OAB may be caused by a variety of reasons:
- Excessive consumption of fluids, especially caffeinated or carbonated beverages
- Neurological disorders
- Loss of cognitive functions due to aging
- Enlarged prostate
- Acute urinary tract infections
- Incomplete emptying of the bladder
However, even if you have been diagnosed with any of the above causes, this does not mean you have to raise a white flag and surrender to the symptoms of overactive bladder. OAB is completely treatable. Consider some lifestyle changes that may help you overcome your frequent urges.
What Can I Do?
There are several lifestyle changes that you can begin making today in order to regain control of your bladder and improve your quality of life. Most of those changes include concentrating on your fluid intake. Drinking an excessive amount of fluids will increase your need to urinate. Cutting down the amount of fluids you consume on a daily basis should help minimize your desire to visit the bathroom. On the flip side, too little fluid can cause a buildup of waste in your bladder that irritates your bladder and results in a need to urinate. You can determine if you have not been consuming enough fluids if your urine is dark yellow with a distinct smell. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that the average male should consume 15.5 cups of fluid each day and the average female, 11.5 cups.
Avoiding things such as acidic fruits, alcohol, coffee, carbonated drinks, and tomato-based products may help prevent the sudden urge to urinate. Because these products form the list of bladder irritants, they should be eliminated from your diet if you desire to curb the symptoms of OAB. Along with adjusting your diet and fluid intake, you can also train your bladder to hold more urine, and minimize the frequency of urges. This takes time, but is completely doable.
Contact Mississippi Urology Clinic so we can evaluate your symptoms, determine potential causes, and help you overcome the sense of helplessness and discomfort that comes with overactive bladder.