Overactive bladder, commonly known as OAB, is characterized by frequent, sudden, and difficult-to-control urges to urinate. You may experience these urges and suffer from unintentional urine loss throughout the day and night. OAB can be uncomfortable, embarrassing, and disrupt your daily activities. There are several different options available to manage OAB. Here are some of the best treatments for overactive bladder.
1. Lifestyle changes
Making changes to your behavior or lifestyle can help bring relief to OAB symptoms.
Steps may include:
Keeping a bladder diary
Keeping a bladder diary can help your doctor determine the cause of your OAB. A bladder diary is used to track things such as:
- Type and quantity of liquids you drink
- What you eat
- How often you empty your bladder
- Frequency of bladder urgency and leakage
- What caused incontinence, such as coughing, sneezing, or laughing
Monitoring your diet
Monitoring your diet can help you identify drinks or foods that may cause bladder symptoms. These may include:
- Caffeinated beverages
- Fruits and fruit juices
- Tomatoes and tomato-based products
- Spicy and acidic foods
- Artificial sweeteners
Maintaining bowel regularity
Constipation can put pressure on the bladder and impair its function. Maintaining regular digestive habits may prevent constipation and alleviate bladder discomfort.
Managing your weight
Excessive weight can put pressure on your bladder, which may contribute to bladder control problems. Maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce OAB symptoms.
Your bladder muscles become conditioned to respond in a specific way when you suffer from OAB. You may make extra bathroom trips to prevent accidents, but that trains your bladder to expect a frequent urination schedule. However, it is possible to retrain your body to resist urges by resetting the muscles in your bladder. Steps may include:
- Practicing delayed urination: Wait to urinate for at least five minutes when you feel the urge. Gradually increase this time.
- Scheduling bathroom breaks: Use the restroom at regular intervals, regardless of whether or not you need to. Begin by going every hour, then slowly lengthen the time.
- Performing Kegel exercises. These are a type of exercise that focuses on strengthening the muscles responsible for stopping urine flow.
Medications can help restore normal bladder function. Medications for overactive bladder include:
Anticholinergic medications help control muscle spasms in your bladder. Examples include oxybutynin (Ditropan®), tolterodine (Detrol®), and solifenacin (Vesicare®).
Beta-3 adrenergic medications
Beta-3 adrenergic medications cause the muscles in your bladder to relax so your bladder can hold more urine. Examples include mirabegron (Myrbetriq®) and vibegron (Gemtesa®).
Botulinum toxin injections
Injecting Botox® or onabotulinum toxinA directly into the bladder calms the bladder and prevents urgency and urinary leakage. This therapy is very effective, even for patients who haven’t responded well to other treatments.
Nerve stimulation, or neuromodulation, can help improve OAB. Types of nerve stimulation treatments include:
Sacral nerve stimulation
Sacral nerve stimulation is a therapy that electrically stimulates the nerves that control your bladder.
A physician implants a little device known as a neurotransmitter behind the skin around the upper buttock region. Near your sacral nerve, the neurotransmitter transmits mild electrical impulses through a wire. The sacral nerve is located in the lower back. Stimulation of the sacral nerve can reduce urine frequency and incontinence, helping you maintain bladder control.
Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation
Percutaneous tibial stimulation uses the tibial nerve in the lower leg to stimulate the nerves involved in bladder control. A small, thin needle electrode is implanted near the tibial nerve and attached to a battery-powered stimulator during treatment. Impulses flow from the tibial to the sacral nerve, which controls the bladder’s function.
Leaking urine and urinary urgency isn’t something you have to live with – call 843-347-2450 to schedule an appointment today!