The cause of overactive bladder is unclear, but the patho-physiology is simply that of an overworked bladder muscle (detrusor overactivity). Overactive bladder is a condition which puts a person in discomfort. It tends to restrict the social life of an individual. It is a urological problem where the person experiences the sudden urge to pass urine.
The ability to control is overpowered by the overactive bladder which can cause leaks. This condition is quite common and can affect even normal people. The symptoms of overactive bladder are quite similar to other conditions like interstitial cystitis. Therefore a person who suffers from this condition has to go for a diagnosis in order to treat this successfully.
What Causes Overactive Bladder?
Overactive bladder causes urine leaks. The malfunction of bladder muscles leads to untimely muscle contractions. A normal person will be able to ‘hold’ urine for longer time. However certain medical conditions can affect the normal functioning. Diseases like bladder stones, inflammation, obstruction, infection, diseases of the nervous system, prostrate conditions, and injuries.
Older people and women are more prone to this condition. Spasms in the bladder cause leaks. Sometimes, certain foods or habits can worsen the condition. Other causes are side effects of drugs, obesity and urinary diseases. Diseases like arthritis affect the mobility of a person which makes trips to the bathroom an ordeal. Kidney problems and diabetes also causes OAB.
In a normal person, the urge to urinate will not be felt until the bladder is almost full. A person who has an overactive bladder will feel the urge to urinate even before the bladder is half full. The urge will be accompanied by nervousness and the hurry to get to the bathroom before leaks occur.
Symptoms of Overactive Bladder
A person who suffers from OAB will feel like going to the bathroom frequently. The urge to urinate will be followed by leaks if the person is not able to make it to the bathroom. Urgency incontinence is a major symptom. If a person urinates more than eight times a day, it is a sign of OAB or other urinary diseases. Symptoms of this condition often make life difficult.
A person will not be able to face people after a ‘leak’ incident. This will lead to voluntary social exile. Older women who have given birth often will have experienced OAB. Older people are also prone because of the inability to control the bladder. OAB is also a symptom of several other urological diseases. Persons suffering from this condition will not have proper sleep because of the urge to urinate during night time. Depression and anxiety are accompanying symptoms in many cases.
Tests like physical examination, EMG, ultrasound, PVR, X-rays, stress test, cystoscopy and pad tests are done to measure urine pressure, rule out other conditions and diagnose the actual cause.
The treatment options include medicines, training and operation. Anticholinergic drugs and flaxovate are given to reduce the spasms in the bladder. Drugs have side effects like constipation, dry mouth, and giddiness, and tiredness, lack of sleep, sickness and hazy vision. Training the body to control the urge to urinate helps a lot. Drinking water, avoiding carbonated drinks, caffeine, hot foods and citrus juices are some of the preferable diet changes.
Training the body to control the trips to the bathroom also helps. Surgery is a last resort. Complications like clots, infection and obstruction can occur. If a person experiences a burning sensation and discomfort while passing urine daily, the doctor should be consulted immediately.