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Overactive Bladder: Urinary Urgency

Overactive Bladder: Urinary Urgency
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Overactive Bladder

urinary urgency


Overactive bladder refers to random contractions of the muscles in the urinary bladder, causing the frequent, urgent urge to urinate even when there is little to no urine in the bladder. Overactive bladder is a very common condition, affecting more than 3 million people per year in the US.

What Causes Overactive Bladder?

  • Aging
  • Stroke
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Tethered cord syndrome
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Myelomeningocele
  • Chiari Malformation
  • Diabetes
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Constipation
  • Certain medications
  • Bladder stones
  • Bladder tumors
  • Excessive caffeine intake
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Sacral agenesis
  • Urinary tract infections

Types of Overactive Bladder

There is only one type of overactive bladder.

Overactive Bladder Symptoms

  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Urgent need to urinate
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Getting up throughout the night to urinate
  • Urinating more than 10 times in a 24-hour period

overactive bladder

Diagnosing Overactive Bladder

A primary care physician can diagnose overactive bladder, but will likely refer you to a urologist to do more thorough diagnostic testing. One diagnostic test, urinary output measurements can be used to measure the amount of urine a patient produces in a 24-hour period. Another diagnostic tool is a cystometry measurement. During this test, a urologist will insert a catheter into your bladder and measure the pressure in the bladder as it is filled with warm water. This can determine how much urine your bladder can hold before the muscles contract.

Treating Overactive Bladder

Behavioral intervention is a common treatment for overactive bladder. It consists of training the body to suppress the need to urinate by performing pelvic floor exercises. It also involves practicing a scheduled bathroom routine, in which you train the body to only need to urinate at certain times throughout the day. Medications like Tolterodine and Oxybutynin can also be used to treat overactive bladder by relaxing the bladder. Nerve stimulation therapy can help by regulating the nerve impulses that are sent to the bladder and cause the muscles to contract. In rare, severe cases, surgery to expand the bladder’s capacity may be necessary.

 

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