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Overactive Bladder

Overactive bladder (OAB) is not a disease, but a group of urinary symptoms that include going to the bathroom frequently with the inability to control the sudden urge to empty your bladder. This may happen when the nerve signals in your brain tell your bladder to empty when in fact it is not full, or when your bladder muscles are too active.

Symptoms of Overactive Bladder

  • Urgency: when you have a strong feeling that you have to urinate because you are afraid that if you don’t get to the bathroom, urine may leak
  • Leakage of urine: you leak urine after you feel the urgency. This may be only a few drops or a large amount of urine
  • Frequency: urinating more often than 8 times a day; waking up from sleep to urinate more than once a night

Who Is at Risk?

  • Older persons
  • Post-menopausal women
  • Persons with underlying chronic infections of the urinary tract such as chronic cystitis, prostatitis, and/or urethritis
  • Men with benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH)
  • People with diseases that affect the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, diabetes, Parkinson’s
  • Those who consume food and drink that may worsen symptoms, including alcohol and caffeine

Diagnosing Overactive Bladder

After discussing your history and doing a physical exam, your doctor may order tests such as urinalysis and cultures or ultrasounds to further evaluate the cause of overactive bladder. Diagnosing OAB could include:

  • Medical history and a physical
  • Keeping a bladder diary to help learn about your day-to-day symptoms
  • Urine cultures to ensure the symptoms are not related to an infection
  • Bladder scan: a test that measures the amount of urine left in your bladder after you urinate to ensure you are not retaining urine
  • Urodynamic study: a test to measures how well the urethra and bladder are doing their job of storing and releasing urine

Treatment for Overactive Bladder

Primarily, the cause of the condition is treated as an underlying infection, or the underlying disease. Some other treatments may be used such as:

  • Behavioral therapy: Lifestyle changes in your daily routine that may help control your symptoms. This may include limiting bladder-irritating foods and drinks, keeping a bladder diary, exercises, and/or bladder training.
  • Medications to relax the bladder muscles: Oral medications or injections
  • Biofeedback / pelvic floor therapy: During biofeedback, electrodes are placed on bladder/pelvic floor muscles and hooked up to a computer to show the activity in real time. A physical therapist then evaluates and guides you through exercises designed specifically to exercise the correct muscle.

Miami urologist Dr. Marvin Bondhus diagnoses and treats overactive bladder in our South Miami office. For a consultation, call (305) 661-9692 or request an appointment online.