Overactive Bladder in Cincinnati, OH
Many women are embarrassed by the problem of an overactive bladder. Crescent Women’s Medical Group, led by board-certified gynecologists (OB-GYN) Drs. Chandra Gravely and Cindy Hansel, provides comprehensive gynecologic care and specialized treatments for such conditions as an overactive bladder for female patients in the Cincinnati and Blue Ash areas of Ohio.
How Does A Normal Bladder Work?
The bladder may be compared to a balloon that fills and empties throughout the day. As the bladder fills with urine, its walls become stretched and this triggers the urge to urinate. Once the bladder is full, your brain sends a signal to your bladder and urination occurs. Most people urinate four to seven times daily and one time nightly.
What Is Overactive Bladder (OAB)?
People who suffer from overactive bladder experience frequent, strong, sudden urges to urinate during the day and night. You may get these urges even if you have only a little bit of urine in your bladder. Sometimes you are not able to hold your urine until you get to the bathroom, leading to urine leakage or incontinence.
Overactive bladder is most common among older adults. Although both men and women experience overactive bladder, the condition is much more common among women. Overactive bladder is a type of urge incontinence, however, not everyone who has overactive bladder leaks urine.
Even without leaking urine, an overactive bladder can make it difficult to enjoy your regular activities. The need to drop everything and race to the bathroom can become disrupting to your normal life and in some cases cause embarrassing accidents. An overactive bladder can also cause other problems. Rushing to the bathroom among older adults can lead to falls and broken bones. Overactive bladder may also contribute to sleeping problems, stress, anxiety, depression and urinary tract infections.
For some people, it is difficult to discuss their overactive bladder problems, but the good news is the condition is treatable. Speak frankly with your doctor about any problems you might have with overactive bladder.
OAB is typically characterized by the following symptoms:
- Urinary Urgency — a sudden and intense need to urinate that cannot wait. In some adults, this may happen even when the bladder is not full. In some cases, urine leakage or urgency urinary incontinence may occur.
- Urinary Frequency — urinating with excessive frequency during the day.
- Nocturia — waking up more than once in a night to urinate.
What Causes OAB?
- The bladder muscle and nerves become overly sensitive and spasm, leading to sudden urinary urgency, which may be accompanied by bladder emptying at an inappropriate time.
- Certain medical conditions may cause OAB, including urinary tract infections (UTIs), pregnancy, menopausal changes, diabetes and neurologic conditions like MS.
- Medications, particularly diuretics or “water pills,” as well as excessive consumption of liquids throughout the day may intensify symptoms.
- Certain identified bladder stimulants, such as caffeine, alcohol, and acidic and spicy foods can make OAB symptoms worse.
- In some cases, no definable cause is discovered; however, many treatments are available.
What Are The Symptoms Of OAB?
The main symptoms of overactive bladder are:
- Urinary urgency.
- Frequent urination.
- Waking up two or more times a night to urinate.
- Needing to urinate even if you have just done so.
- Going to the bathroom frequently, only to urinate just a little bit each time.
- The impossibility of holding urine and leaking urine when you have the urge to urinate.
You may experience some or all of these symptoms.
What Can Be Done About OAB?
There are many things that can be done to control your overactive bladder. Medications exist, but for most patients, particularly younger ones with few other health concerns, these prove to be a limited and unsustainable solution to the problem due to incomplete benefit and occasional side effects, which may include dry mouth and constipation. Additionally, medications don’t actually solve the problem; they merely work to minimize the symptoms. Although medications are an option for all of our patients, we recommend other options that are often more successful and comfortable.
At Crescent Women’s Medical Group, our team of experts has developed an OAB roadmap that includes all of the currently available treatments that have been proven effective against OAB.
Many of our patients prefer to begin first with the most conservative steps that, in addition to drugs, include behavioral therapies, biofeedback and/or physical therapy. Patients are often surprised at how well these conservative measures may impact their condition, and it is always satisfying when something safe, simple, inexpensive and reversible proves to be the right solution for any patient.
The goal of treatment is to reduce bladder spasms in the following manners:
- Removing any irritants that may be making your bladder overly sensitive.
- Relaxing the bladder muscle via the use of medications.
- Changing the signals that the brain sends to the bladder that leads to bladder spasms.
The first step of your treatment may include a combination of medications along with behavioral modification.
- Bladder retraining: This method involves a series of exercises that teach you to gradually control the bladder muscle, reducing the frequency of urgency episodes and prolonging the time between each visit to the toilet.
- Manage fluid intake: Limiting the amount of fluid you drink to four to six eight-ounce glasses in one day will naturally decrease urinary frequency symptoms and provide some relief from an overly sensitive bladder. If any of your health care providers has advised you to increase fluid consumption to treat another condition, please consult with him/her prior to limiting your fluid intake.
For patients who have already tried and failed conservative options, we offer advanced options for OAB. These treatments include nerve stimulation therapies similar to acupuncture (Urgent® PC), or implantable devices that are similar to a pacemaker (InterStim®). Injecting Botox® into the bladder is also used to successfully treat OAB symptoms. Each option has its pros and cons, and our team can help you evaluate each one and decide what may work best in your case. We are dedicated to helping patients eliminate the inconveniences caused by this problem and will continue to work with you using an increasingly wide range of options and potential solutions until you are no longer bothered by symptoms. Our success rate in treating OAB patients is extremely high.
How Is OAB Evaluated?
Successful evaluation begins with a comprehensive physical and gynecologic exam. We also check your urine for any signs of blood or infection, and in some cases, we recommend additional urine tests or cystoscopy (telescope exam of the bladder), imaging with X-rays or ultrasound, or specialized testing of the bladder function called urodynamics. This typically applies to patients who have not found relief through conservative options, and before moving on to more advanced treatments. We take the time to fully understand your problem and direct you to the safest and most effective option for your particular condition. This varies with every patient.
You don’t need to suffer any longer with symptoms of overactive bladder. At Crescent Women’s Medical Group, we provide treatment options for OAB and related conditions to women residing in Cincinnati, Blue Ash, and the surrounding communities of Ohio. Contact us for an evaluation so we may assist you in choosing your best treatment options.