THE OVERACTIVE BLADDER: Facts to know
The overactive bladder is a very common problem that causes distressing and inconvenient symptoms. It can cause you to rush to the toilet many times during the day and night, and can sometimes also cause you to leak some urine before you reach the toilet.
These symptoms are usually caused by the bladder muscle squeezing to empty out urine inappropriately which often happens without warning and when you do not want it.
This problem can affect women of all ages and is not simply a result of getting older.
The commonest cause of these symptoms is a urine infection and hence it is important to get the urine tested to rule out any infection of the urine.
Many treatment options are available for this problem and hence seeing a urogynecologist is strongly recommended.
Further tests to rule out any stones or growths in the bladder may be suggested to investigate the cause for the overactive bladder.
It is important to maintain good bladder habits like drinking atleast 2 litres of water in a day, emptying the bladder every 3 or 4 hourly while trying to avoid trips to the toilet less than 2 hourly.
Avoiding caffeine, fizzy drinks, fruit juices and alcohol can also improve symptoms.
Bladder training is a very useful technique which can be successful in 1 out of 2 or 3 women with overactive bladder. Bladder training involves gradually increasing the time between visits to the toilet and trying to hold on for a little longer if you experience the urge to empty your bladder.
Medication is available to help relax the bladder muscle in women who do not have improvement with the conservative measures.
Further minimal access surgical treatment options like injecting Botox in the bladder muscle are also options, which can be considered after urodynamic studies to confirm the diagnosis.