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Overactive Bladder (OAB)

Author: Dr Scott Pendergraft
by Dr Scott Pendergraft
Posted: Jul 12, 2016

Summary: Overactive bladder is a condition causing urinary incontinence. Here are some important facts about this condition you should know.

What is an overactive bladder?

Overactive bladder is a medical condition in which muscles of urinary bladder wall undergo involuntary contractions. This contraction exhibits a sudden need to urinate even when bladder holds small amount of urine. There is no blood discharge, burning sensation or pain when urinating with OAB.

This condition can affect both men and women. However women are more prone to OAB than men. When OAB is coupled with urinary leakage due to pressure on bladder this condition is termed as urge incontinence. Stress incontinence is another kind of UI caused by weakness of the bladder structure. Treatment for OAB is entirely different from urge or stress incontinence. While these two conditions can be treated with kegel exercises, treatment of OAB requires medication.

There are some factors that can increase urinary frequency in OAB patients. Intake of fluids like coffee and tea, alcohol and spicy food can worsen the condition.

What are the causes of overactive bladder?

The main problem behind overactive bladder is the faulty muscle and nerves around the bladder area. Caused by uncontrolled early contraction of the bladder muscles, OAB is not related to aging. Normal functioning bladder will trigger the nervous system with approximately 300 cc of urine which is collected in the bladder. However the sphincter muscles are able to hold urine up to 600 cc or long when functioning properly. But for a patient of OAB this limit is much lower; typically less than 200 cc. Also the bladder triggers nerves even on little urine collection.

Inappropriate contraction of the bladder walls and muscles can result into urge to urinate. There are some medical conditions that can damage the nervous system causing OAB. These conditions include:

  • Back problems like degenerative disc disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Strokes
  • Dementia
  • Diabetic neuropathy

Some other conditions like benign prostatic enlargement, bladder tumors, bladder stones and urinary tract infection can also cause OAB.

Overactive Bladder (OAB) Symptoms

  • Sudden urge to urinate causing urinary urgency
  • Leakage of urine in some cases
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Nocturia, frequent urination urge at night

Some facts to know about OAB

  • OAB is an involuntary condition
  • OAB can result into urinary incontinence
  • Overactive bladder incontinence is not a normal side effect of aging, seek medical help immediately
  • Both men and women are affected by OAB
  • Treatment options for OAB are available

Treatment for Overactive Bladder

Patients of OAB are advised medication to block their nerve signals which trigger frequent urination.

Anticholinergics drugs are often prescribed to relax bladder muscles. These drugs relax the nerves in the bladder area and control the contraction of muscles to improve OAB condition.

There can be some side effects when these drugs are used in large dosage. Drowsiness, confusion, faster heartbeat and constipation are some of common side effects. Glaucoma patients should explicitly consult their healthcare provider to know if these drugs are safe for them or not.

If you witness any of these signs you should consult your doctor. OAB is not a normal aging resulted problem and requires immediate attention.

Resource Box: Tampa Abortion Clinic. Dr. James S. Pendergraft opened the Orlando Women's Center in March 1996 to provide a full range of health care for women, including abortions, physical examinations, family planning and counseling. Abortion Clinic.

About the Author

Dr. James S. Pendergraft opened the Orlando Women's Center in March 1996 to provide a full range of health care for women.

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Author: Dr Scott Pendergraft

Dr Scott Pendergraft

Member since: Mar 31, 2015
Published articles: 61

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