Do you ever feel like when your bladder has to go, it has to GO? You are not alone.

Why speak up?

Overactive bladder (OAB) is a very common condition. It is a constellation of symptoms that includes urinary frequency, urgency and urinary leakage and can be a terribly bothersome problem that interferes with a person’s lifestyle and quality of life.

The good news is that there are very successful options available to treat OAB. In order to receive appropriate treatment, a proper evaluation is necessary to ensure an accurate diagnosis. Many people are embarrassed to talk about OAB with their health care providers, or they think that OAB is just a normal part of aging that they have to live with, but that is a myth.

Urologists and gynecologists who specialize in the treatment of “leaky bladders” have many very successful treatments to offer to get a misbehaving bladder under control. OAB can be caused by a variety of conditions, such as an enlarged prostate, urinary tract infection or a neurologic disorder, and it is important to confirm the correct diagnosis prior to proceeding with treatment.

At your service

Once the diagnosis of OAB is confirmed, there are a variety of simple and very successful treatments that can have a tremendous positive impact on your quality of life.

"You don’t have to settle and cycle from one medication to the next. There are some very exciting and effective, minimally invasive therapies..."

First-line therapies include bladder training to gradually increase the interval between voids, avoidance of bladder irritants, such as caffeine or alcohol, and urgency suppression techniques. Biofeedback, which involves working with a pelvic floor physical therapist, can also be effective, as can adding medications that control the bladder by decreasing bladder contractions and sensitivity. In women, addition of local hormone replacement therapy can also be very helpful in decreasing the sensitivity of the bladder that can result in OAB.

Other options

But don’t lose hope if these first steps aren’t successful. You don’t have to settle and cycle from one medication to the next. There are some very exciting and effective, minimally invasive therapies that include injection of Botox® into the bladder and nerve stimulators that control the messages that the bladder receives from the sacral nerves that control bladder function. Neuromodulation, (a “pacemaker” for the bladder) may also be an option.

Each of these very successful treatment options has its pros and cons. But all are simple, and they all have the potential to have a huge positive impact on your quality of life. With today’s technology and medical knowledge, no one should be limited by OAB from living a full life. It’s important to talk to a specialist to learn your options.