Living with an overactive bladder?
When you’re going out with friends, is the first thing you do when you arrive anywhere to check out where the toilet is, ready for when you need to go? Or do you get anxious about going out for walks or to venues where there may not be toilet facilities? You only went to the toilet half an hour ago, but already you’re dashing off because you feel the urge to go again and can’t hold it? Sound familiar? You may have an overactive bladder.
For many women, the sudden urges to go to the toilet and the anxiety associated with an overactive bladder can make it hard to enjoy a normal social, work and home life. An overactive bladder is a physical condition that is inconvenient for patients, but the emotional impact can also be huge. It can disrupt your day-to-day plans, affect your sleep patterns, and even make it hard to enjoy your sex life. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are solutions to help rectify the problem and help ease the symptoms of an overactive bladder.
An overactive bladder can often be treated with lifestyle changes. If these don’t help, there are various medical treatments that can make a significant difference.
What are the symptoms of an overactive bladder?
The risk of an overactive bladder does increases with age, however, this does not make it a normal part of ageing. It is a more common problem in older women, but it is not an uncommon problem in women from 18 to menopause either, overactive bladder can affect any age. The symptoms include:
- A sudden urge to urinate without warning
- Frequency to go to the bathroom regularly, more than normal, with or without leakage
- Urine leakage – not being able to hold urine in time to get to the toilet
- Having to get up often during the night to go to the loo (nocturia)
An overactive bladder does not cause any pain. If you are experiencing any pain or burning when you urinate, you may have an infection and should go and see your GP.
What are the causes of an overactive bladder?
- Increasing age
- Being overweight
- Over consumption of water
- Over consumption of diuretics such as caffeine, tea, carbonated drinks or alcohol
- Poor toilet habits
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Spinal issues, spinal cord injury
- Certain medications such as antidepressants, diuretics etc
- Bladder tumour or stones
- Neurological disorders – associated with sudden onset of symptoms – including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, cerebral palsy
Finding the cause can help to identify the best treatment. So, a full assessment and total honesty with your specialist is vital to get to the root of the problem.
Treatments for overactive bladder symptoms
The good news is, there are treatments for an overactive bladder that can be very effective! Your doctor will start with the most conservative and holistic (lifestyle changes) and work down from there.
- Changing drinking and nutritional habits
- Bladder training – gradually increasing time between urinating
- Pelvic floor muscle exercises
- Stress and anxiety management
- Surgery – used as a last option if other treatment options haven’t been successful
So many women, of all ages suffer in silence with an overactive bladder, because of embarrassment. But there is no need. There is support out there that can make a real difference. If you seek help from a specialist who can assess you and identify the cause of the symptoms, then this is the first step in finding the right solution for you. You won’t always have to plan your day around toilet stops, limit yourself to short journeys, think about where the bathroom is, rush to the toilet or worry about embarrassing leakages. Remember, it does not have to become your new normal, there are effective treatments out there and there are specialists to advise and treat you.
If you have any concerns on this topic and would like advice or a consultation in Cheltenham or Gloucester with our specialist Gynaecologist Consultant Mr Rahmanou, please contact us on 07307 641071 or firstname.lastname@example.org