What you need to know about overactive bladders

Many of us have stood with legs crossed while waiting for an opportune moment to head into a restroom. But there are some Cincinnati residents for whom no amount of leg crossing will save them from the embarrassment of urine leakage.

These people may be experiencing overactive bladder, also known as urge incontinence. According to the National Association for Continence, about 17 percent of women and 16 percent of men experience overactive bladders.

Here is what you need to know about an overactive bladder from the National Center for Biotechnology Information:

Definition: Overactive bladder is the strong, sudden need to relieve oneself because of bladder spasms and the leakage of urine caused by improper muscle contraction. It is a form of urinary incontinence.

Causes: More common in women than in men, overactive bladder may be the result of bladder cancer, inflammation, obstruction, stones or an infection. It also can be the result of neurological diseases or injuries, such as multiple sclerosis, stroke or spinal cord injury. Men also may experience urge incontinence because of benign prostatic hypertrophy or an enlarged prostate.

Symptoms: Frequent urination, involuntary urination and sudden urgency to urinate.

Diagnosis: In addition to checking the abdomen, rectum and prostate or pelvis, the doctor may order urinalysis, urinary stress tests, studies of the pressure and flow of urine, ultrasounds, measurement of post-urination volume of urine in the bladder, or a test to see how much urine fills a pad following exercise. In cases where neurological issues are suspected, additional tests may be ordered.

Treatment: Depending on the severity of symptoms and how they affect your lifestyle, you will be placed on medication, put on a retraining regimen or, in extreme cases, recommended for surgery. Depending on the source of the problem, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics, drugs that help the bladder muscles relax or antidepressants which contain ingredients that control the muscle of the bladder. The doctor may also recommend Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles or retrain the bladder by restricting how and when you drink.


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