The bladder is responsible for storing urine and then contracting the muscle walls causing the urge to urinate. The condition, overactive bladder syndrome, is the effect of rapid uncontrollable tightening of the muscle walls of the urinary bladder. An overactive bladder makes one feel that there is a need to urinate urgently even if the bladder is not full It is also known to many as “urge incontinence” and is a type of urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is often experienced more in adult females than in adult males.
What are the Symptoms of Overactive Bladder Syndrome?
Since this condition affects the urinary system, most of its symptoms are urinary in nature. But eventually it may be systemic if left untreated. Some of the common symptoms are:
If you have this illness, you often get the feeling of needing to urinate. No matter what you are doing, you put the activity on hold and focus on heading towards the toilet ASAP.
You might find yourself having more frequent trips heading to the toilet. You might pass smaller than usual amounts of urine but you will be visiting the toilet much more often.
There will be times when you will wake up at the middle of the night just to go to the toilet. This might happen to you more than once every night.
Sometimes you might not be able to hold it long enough to reach a toilet. You will feel that as you were running towards the toilet, a small amount of urine has already leaked out against your control.
What Causes Overactive Bladder Syndrome?
This condition has the term “syndrome” attached to it because it doesn’t have one specific known cause. Some incidents attribute it to being a complication of neuromuscular disorder such as:
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Diabetic Neuropathy
It can also be a result of:
- Urinary infection; or
- Presence of tumour or stone in the bladder
How to Treat Overactive Bladder Syndrome?
The treatment for overactive bladder syndrome may hinge on the capacities of the patient. Most treatments target a lifestyle change, pharmacological therapies and even surgical options.
A) General Lifestyle Changes.
1. Toilet Modifications. Since you will be experiencing frequent urges to urinate, it would help if you get a toilet in your bedroom. This way it can make your life easier, especially when you wake up at the middle of the night needing to go to the toilet.
2. Bladder Training. The goal here is to slowly expand the bladder allowing it to accommodate larger amounts of urine. This can help the bladder muscles become less reactive and you will be able to control yourself even more. A doctor, nurse or continence advisor may assist you with the training in regaining back your bladder control.
1. Drink 6-8 glasses of water daily. Just because you are urinating more doesn’t mean that you have to cut back on your water intake. Drink in normal quantities to avoid dehydrating your muscles; especially your detrusor muscles in the bladder, which can often irritate your bladder if urine becomes more concentrated, making things worse.
2. Avoid caffeine. Caffeine is found in coffee, cola, and tea and in small quantities of painkiller tablets. It can produce diuretic effects in your body making you urinate even more. You do not have to drastically stop it, but try limiting to a few forms of caffeine a day, and then eventually stay away from it. It won’t just help your overactive bladder syndrome, but your total health as well.
3. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol has almost the same effect as caffeine. Thus it should also be avoided when in such conditions.
C) Pharmacological Therapies
When no improvement seems to take place with bladder training or other physical techniques, you can opt for medicine. Medicine referred as anticholinergics or antimuscarinics may be utilized. They can help muscles relax, thus improving bladder capacity and preventing bladder hyperactivity. Some medicines in this class include oxybutynin, tolterodine, trospium chloride, propiverine, and solifenacin.
D) Surgical Therapies
If you seem to have exhausted all possible treatments and are left with no other solution but to go under the knife, some of the procedures known to treat overactive bladder syndrome include sacral nerve stimulation. A small pulse generator is inserted underneath the skin of the buttocks to send some impulses to the nerves controlling the bladder. Another is augmentation cystoplasty, wherein a small piece of intestinal tissue is attached to the bladder, thereby increasing its size. And last is, urinary diversion, whereby the ureters are routed directly outside of the body making urine unable to reach the bladder.
E) Natural remedies
1. Pelvic floor exercise. The reason why the bladder can become hyperactive is because of weakened bladder muscles. Just like any muscles, it has optimal functioning if subjected to exercise. Since it is found inside the body, you may not know that it actually exists. You can do pelvic floor exercises, also called as Kegel’s exercise, to stimulate the nerves controlling the bladder.
2. Herbal remedies. Some known herbs used to cure this condition are alpinia oxyphilla that is a member of the ginger clan that facilitates absorption. Other formula includes Flotrol (soy-germ and pumpkin seeds extracts) used to keep the urinary tract healthy.