Treatments for Overactive Bladder
Overactive bladder is a dysfunction with bladder storage that causes a sudden urge to urinate. This urge, which can be difficult or impossible control, sometimes leads to incontinence (involuntary urine loss). Fortunately, treatments do exist to manage the symptoms of overactive bladder.
What is Overactive Bladder?
The symptoms of overactive bladder can significantly impact the daily lives of those who suffer from it, which can lead to emotional distress and depression. Learn more about the causes, risk factors, and symptoms of overactive bladder here.
How Do You Treat Overactive Bladder?
Physicians have a variety of ways to alleviate the symptoms of overactive bladder. A variety of treatments—both medications and behavioral changes—are available to help manage the impact on daily lives. A doctor will help create a plan that will show which treatment, or combination of treatments, will work best.
What Are the Non-Medication Treatments for Overactive Bladder?
Bladder training is the most common way to manage overactive bladder. Training the bladder helps manage the urges by going to the bathroom at set times during the day. Patients begin controlling the urge by waiting at increasingly longer intervals before urinating.
Kegel Exercises, or pelvic floor exercises, help build muscles in the bladder just as weight-training builds muscles in the arms, abs, and legs. During the exercises tightening, holding, and relaxing the muscles build strength to later start, stop, and prevent urination.
Electric Stimulation is another method to impact the muscles around the bladder. Electrodes can be placed on the vagina or rectum to send small electrical charges to the muscles that control urinary function.
Behavioral Changes like limiting alcohol and caffeine use, especially before activities, can help manage the symptoms of overactive bladder. Also, reducing fluid intake before bed can prevent nighttime disturbances.
What Medications are Available for Overactive Bladder?
A group of drugs called anticholinergics can reduce or stop the unnecessary contraction of the bladder wall. Studies have found several drugs that decrease the urge to go and increase bladder capacity. These drugs include Enablex, Vesicare, Ditropan, and Vesicare.
Some individuals may not be candidates for anticholinergics, but other medicines are available. Tofranil is a drug that can relax bladder muscles, so can Botox injections. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers, may target bladder nerves, as do other related substances.
What if These Treatments Don’t Work?
Rarely, medications and natural methods cannot significantly eliminate the symptoms of overactive bladder. In such cases, a doctor may recommend surgery. Bladder augmentation is a procedure that increases bladder capacity by using a part of the bowel. Another option is to have a small device connected to the nerves that control the nerves around the bladder.
Overactive bladder patients are encouraged to stick with whichever treatment they decide upon with their doctor as it often takes time for symptoms to improve.
Jean Brown Research is conducting a clinical research study for an investigational medication for individuals with overactive bladder. Study participants that are 18 and older may receive study medication, evaluation by a qualified physician at no cost, and may be compensated for the time and travel. Find out if you are eligible for this overactive bladder study.