What’s The Matter With My Bladder?

public restrooms

Do you immediately scope out the bathroom in unfamiliar places? Have you ever watched a movie straight through without stopping? Do you know the location of every restroom between your home and work?  Overactive bladders (OAB) are nothing to sneeze at (literally!).  For clinical purposes, eight or more urinations per day is the hallmark of an overactive bladder.  Nerves and muscles in the bladder are the major players in bladder dysfunction.  The nervous system is responsible for regulating the contraction and relaxation of bladder muscles.  The constant urge to urinate all the time is the result of inappropriate contractions.  Common causes of inappropriate contractions are:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Diabetes
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Dementia
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Anxiety

Along with medication prescribed by a physician, OAB patients can also manage their symptoms with behavioral therapy, electrical stimulation, pelvic floor exercises, fluid management, urination schedules and bladder training.  Avoid caffeine and alcohol because both substances are diuretics and stimulate the bladder.

An estimated 15% of the United States population will suffer from overactive bladders.  Worldwide, 200 million people are affected.  Although prevalence increases with age, young people are not immune.  OAB occurs twice as often in women than in men.  Roughly, one in five adults over the age of 40 experience overactive bladders.  It takes women about 6.5 years to seek treatment after the first episode.   Unfortunately, there is a stigma associated with overactive bladders and embarrassment may prevent treatment.  The number of adults with overactive bladders is likely underreported because of failure to seek treatment.

The Urology Care Foundation has launched a public education campaign to reduce the stigma and shame of frequent urination.  If you’re experiencing frequent or excessive urination, talk with your doctor about the possibility of treatment.  Ask about symptoms, testing and treatment.  Writing down questions beforehand may help you feel less uncomfortable about broaching the subject.  Don’t accept this as a way of life.  Take control.

Enjoyed this article?  Try reading these as well . . .
How to Talk to a Doctor about Your Overactive Bladder
Overactive Bladder: What’s Going Wrong with your Urinary System?


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