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Overactive Bladder: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

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Overactive Bladder Causes

An overactive bladder is caused by frequent, involuntary spasms of the muscle in the wall of the bladder (the detrusor muscle) that result in the urge to urinate, even when the bladder isn’t full. The need to urinate can be sudden and severe in onset, resulting in a condition that can be both awkward and embarrassing. Men and women suffering from an overactive bladder may even start to avoid social situations, sexual intimacy, and physical exercise. It is estimated that one in ten adults suffer from an overactive bladder, but should not be considered a normal part of aging. Treatment is highly recommended for these individuals.

Overactive Bladder Treatments

There are numerous ways to treat the condition, such as behavioral therapies. For women, kegel exercises are recommended to tighten muscles. A doctor can also assist with pelvic floor muscle strengthening, during which small electrical pulses stimulate the muscles involved in retaining urine. Behavioral therapies can be quite useful. A bathroom schedule may be set up to train the body to go at regular but not frequent intervals. Medications such as Ditropan and Detrol, Vescare, Sanctura, (which relax the muscles that cause urinary urgency), as well as a variety of topical estrogen therapies (which are more commonly used for women with dry vagina during and after menopause) have proven effective for an overactive bladder. Dietary changes such as elimination of caffeine (which can increase urgency) and an increase of fiber into their daily meals can also help. A regular bathroom schedule, as well as easy access to a restroom, can help improve life for patients with an overactive bladder. In severe cases of overactive bladder that do not respond to medical therapy, implantation of a bladder nerve electrical stimulator can be helpful.