Overactive Bladder is when you experience a cluster of symptoms that compel you to urinate or pee frequently. Some individuals may leak urine when they experience the urge, which is called incontinence. Other symptoms are that you get an unexpected urge to urinate (urge incontinence) that you cannot control, or you feel the need to pass urine frequently throughout the day and the night. It is not always easy to identify the precise aetiology of OAB. The symptoms can lead to stress, embarrassment, and social isolation. Individuals who have OAB often limit their work life as well.
OAB symptoms can affect your regular active life. It is essential to know that there are no immediate solutions for the condition, but there are effective treatments for a weak bladder. These include behavioural therapy, changes in lifestyle, medications, and occasionally surgical procedures. OAB can occur for numerous reasons. Treating the underlying cause of OAB might alleviate its symptoms. For example, neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis can cause your bladder to contract more frequently than normal. In men, an enlarged prostate gland is a common cause of bladder difficulties. Stones in the urinary bladder or malignancy may induce OAB symptoms.
Overactive Bladder Treatment strategies
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of an OAB, you can learn to manage the condition with food and lifestyle modifications enforced with simple exercises. You can adopt simple behavioural treatments, such as dietary modifications, timed urination, and bladder-holding techniques using the pelvic floor muscles to alleviate the symptoms of an overactive bladder. If the efforts do not offer any relief, other treatments are possible.
A variety of therapies may be the most effective way to alleviate the symptoms of an overactive bladder. The following tips will assist you in managing OAB symptoms:
- Behavioural therapies
One of the best methods of managing OAB is through behavioural interventions. They are very effective and have no adverse effects.
Behavioural treatments include:
a. Kegel exercises: Your pelvic floor muscles and urinary sphincter are strengthened by pelvic floor exercises or Kegel exercises. The individual muscles can assist you in better controlling the bladder’s reflexive contractions as they get stronger and more toned. Your doctor can provide you with instructions on how to perform Kegel exercises. If you put them into regular practise, they are a very effective treatment for overactive bladder in males and females.
b. Strengthen your pelvic muscles: Your physician can share specific exercises to help boost the your muscle strength around the pelvic area to control your muscles better when you feel like urinating.
c. Balance your weight: If you are overweight, reducing some weight can ease symptoms. Losing weight can help with stress related incontinence to a great extent.
d. Pre-plan loo visits: Set a daily schedule for toilet visits. The schedule helps plan your visits, which is a more pragmatic method compared to biding your time until you want to urinate.
e. Wear pads: You can wear pads to protect your clothing and help you avoid embarrassing incidents. This way, you need not curtail your lifestyle. You can also keep a set of spare pads for later use.
f. Bladder training: The training entails planned delays when you want to urinate. You can initially start with a delay of 15 minutes, and gradually increase the gap up to 3-4 hours. Bladder training can be effective when you can contract or your pelvic floor muscles well.
The following guidelines can assist you in resetting your overactive bladder:
a) Determine voiding intervals: Start with the interval between your present voids (urination). You urinate according to your voiding interval. To find out your current voiding interval, record how frequently you urinate in your bladder diary.
b) How to focus: After determining your current voiding interval, attempt to give yourself a few minutes between the time you feel the urge to urinate and the time you use the restroom. Increase the gap between pees gradually over time. Take slow, deep breaths in and out of your mouth if, in between voiding intervals, you feel a want to urinate. Until the impulse passes, visualise a serene environment or engage in another relaxing technique. Go to the restroom once the need has passed.
c) Reduce intervals: Initially, urinate frequently during the day and night. Don’t put it off until the last moment. Start, for instance, by using the restroom every two hours. After two hours, if you’re still dry, progressively extend the interval between trips to the restroom. You can also reduce the interval between bathroom visits to once every hour if you’re wet.
d) Extend the gaps: Try to extend the duration between bathroom visits to one hour and fifteen minutes if you typically go every hour. Try to extend your voiding interval by an additional 15 minutes once you’ve been able to stick to your new schedule without having an accident for at least a week. Continue until you find a schedule that is convenient for you. Aim for a two- to four-hour gap between voidings.
e) Schedule yourself: Follow your timetable, as much as you can.
Overactive Bladder Medications
If your doctor can determine the cause of your OAB, you will be able to undergo focused line of treatment. As a result, you can alleviate your OAB symptoms. Here are some commonly used therapy creams and drugs for treating OAB.
a) Medicines: There are medicines that can help provide relief from the symptoms of an overactive bladder and reducing periods of urge incontinence. The drugs include: (a) Tolterodine (b) Oxybutynin: pill, skin patch or gel (c) Mirabegron (d) Trospium (e) Fesoterodine and, (f) Solifenacin. Note the side effects: Adverse effects of the medicines include dry mouth and eyes. Although quenching your thirst can exacerbate OAB symptoms. You can also experience constipation, which can worsen your bladder symptoms. You can consider extended- or delayed-release versions of the drugs that include skin patch or gel, which have reduced adverse effects.
b) Anticholinergic medications for OAB
A major class of medications used to treat OAB are anticholinergics drugs. They function by inhibiting a substance in the body known as acetylcholine. This molecule communicates to the bladder to contract. By inhibiting this molecule, these medications diminish the contractions responsible for urination. Anticholinergics are distributed under several brand names, although some are available as generics, which include oxybutynin, tolterodine, trospium, and darifenacin among others. The medications come in the form of oral pills or capsules. Frequent side effects of anticholinergic medications are dry mouth, blurred vision, and constipation. Seniors taking these drugs may also experience sleepiness and an increased risk of falling. In addition to aggravating dementia symptoms, patients with OAB should use anticholinergics with caution.
c) Beta-3 adrenergic medications for OAB
Mirabegron is the only medication of this type. It functions by relaxing the smooth muscles in the bladder wall that increases the capacity of your bladder. The medication is available as a pill that is taken orally once day. It interacts with multiple other medications. Ensure that your doctor is aware of all medications you are taking. The most prevalent adverse effect of this medication is hypertension.
d) Antispasmodic medications for OAB
Flavoxate is an oral medication lowers bladder spasms. This is an outdated medication. Some studies indicate that it is not as effective as newer medications in treating OAB symptoms.
e) Antidepressants for OAB
If other OAB meds do not work or you cannot take other OAB medications, your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant. The medications are used to treat depression, but they may also alleviate some symptoms of OAB. The medications have not been evaluated by the FDA for the treatment of OAB, therefore your doctor may prescribe them off-label. For instance, your doctor may prescribe Desipramine for OAB, which is an antidepressant. This oral medication functions by relaxing the bladder and constricting the bladder neck muscles. The actions may alleviate the need to urinate. In addition, they help prevent leaking and enhance bladder control. Imipramine is another antidepressant used to treat OAB. It is an oral medicine that functions similarly to desipramine. The primary adverse effect of this medication is drowsiness. The med is a suitable option for those with overnight incontinence. Antidepressants used to treat OAB may cause drowsiness, exhaustion, anxiety, and diminished sexual desire.
f) Hormones for OAB
Weak support tissues surrounding the bladder and urethra may cause OAB in some females. If this is the case, your physician may prescribe topical oestrogen. This is a hormone produced naturally by the body. The vaginal therapy, which is a cream to help reinforce the muscle strength in the vagina and urethra, especially after menopause. Vaginal estrogen is available as a tablet or a suppository and can provide relief from overactive bladder symptoms. Estrogen acts to strengthen the bladder, vaginal, and urethral muscles. Women begin to produce less Estrogen after menopause. Estradiol and conjugated oestrogen creams are topical oestrogens used to treat OAB. Note: All oestrogens increase the risk of some malignancies, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. However, topical oestrogen poses a lower risk than oral oestrogen.
g) Botulinum toxin injections
Botox or Onabotulinumtoxin causes botulism illness. It is a protein from the bacteria that relaxes the muscles when it is administered into the bladder tissues in precise dosages. The treatment can be helpful for severe cases of incontinence. The transient effects typically remain for over 6 months. Using a cystoscope, that specialist injects Botox into the bladder wall. This treatment is effective, especially for patients who have not responded to earlier treatments. Following a Botox injection, a small minority of individuals may experience transient urine retention (difficulty urinating). Botox injections eventually wear off. Most individuals must repeat shots every six months. It is essential to know that urine infections or involuntary urinary retention are downsides of these injections.
- Sacral Nerve Stimulation (SNS) One method of easing the symptoms of overactive bladder is by controlling the bladder nerve impulses. The treatment is a minimum invasive technique that involves inserting a small wire near the sacral nerves, that carry signals to your bladder and pass close to your tailbone. A temporary wire inserted beneath the skin in your lower back. Sometimes it can be done as a more complex surgery that involves implanting a permanent electrode, which is lengthier process. Then, just like a pacemaker for the heart, your doctor stimulates your bladder with electrical impulses using a hand-held device attached to the cable. The doctor surgically installs a permanent pulse generator to assist in regulating the nerve rhythm to relieve your symptoms. The method can decrease both urine leakage and the frequency with which someone feels the urge to urinate.
- Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation or PTNS The specialist inserts a tiny needle into the skin at the ankle and transmits an electrical signal from the tibial nerve in the leg to the spine. The nerve is linked to the neurons that are connected to the bladder. PTNS therapies are carried out to alleviate symptoms of overactive bladder for a few weeks. You will require maintenance treatments for symptom management every few weeks.
- Surgery Surgical treatment for OAB is for patients experiencing many chronic symptoms who did not experience any benefits of other therapies. The objective is to enhance the bladder’s capacity to hold pee and minimise bladder pressure. However, these methods will not alleviate bladder pain. The methods include surgical enhancement of bladder capacity. The treatment replaces a section of your bladder with intestinal tissue. It is for patients with severe urge incontinence that do not respond to more conservative treatments. If you undergo this operation, you can face the risk of requiring occasional catheterisation to empty your bladder for the remainder of your life.
Natural Treatment for an Overactive Bladder
Natural cures include physical activity, mental and physical therapy, herbs, and vitamins. The practise of using elements and techniques that are directly related to human life and contact with nature, such as food, water, sunlight, exercise, rest, and nature walks that are good for health, to preserve and restore health is known as natural therapy. Nature treatment is comparable to Ayurveda, Naturopathy and Chinese medicine as they are based on holistic human health dedicated to preserving health and preventing disorders. Nature cures modes to treat overactive bladder depends on paying attention to your body and using therapies that can treat your entire body, not just the OAB symptoms.
Supplements and vitamins
There is a range of herbs, supplements, and vitamins that can be used as alternative remedies for a hyperactive bladder. For instance, plant extracts like corn silk and capsaicin and Chinese herbal mixes like Gosha-junki-gan and Ganoderma lucidum mushroom extracts.
Studies have established that supplements, including magnesium hydroxide and L-arginine effectively reduce symptoms in people with an overactive bladder or incontinence. There may be interactions between your dietary supplements and prescription drugs. Consult your doctor before using any of these vitamins or supplements.
Acupuncture: Specialists apply tiny needles into certain body parts during acupuncture. By resuming the flow of energy, these spots can be activated to potentially reduce symptoms. Studies have established that acupuncture can help reduce some OAB symptoms.
Oils: The following oils are frequently employed in the treatment of OAB: oil of ylang-ylang, clary sage oil, lavender oil, and pumpkin seed nutmeg.
Homeopathy: The treatment can help you stretch out the time between when the need to urinate first arises and when you urinate. It may be simpler to control urine and the symptoms of the hyperactive bladder with the help of natural and homemade therapies. This mode of treatment focuses on finding methods to treat your entire body, not just the overactive bladder symptoms. Common homoeopathic therapies entail avoiding unpleasant foods and foods that increase urine urgency.
OAB is a common ailment, but if you allow it, it may cause havoc in your life. Find out about alternate possibilities from your doctor if one drug doesn’t work. You could find it beneficial to try yoga, meditation, and tai chi to ease your symptoms and quiet your thoughts. Walking has several advantages as well.
Make Kegel Exercises a Habit
Regularly performed activities are the most effective. Develop a rhythm while performing Kegels. Perform your Kegel exercises at the same time each day, perhaps while peeing in the morning, brushing your teeth, and watching television. If you consistently perform Kegel exercises, they can help improve your urine incontinence. Moreover, pay attention to development. You will observe that your urine incontinence improves over time. Perhaps you are experiencing fewer leaks or are leaking less.
Foods for OAB
Choose whole foods: Consume more high-fibre foods that are filling in your diet, aid digestion and prevent constipation, which can cause bladder strain. Almonds, oats, pears, raspberries, lentils, and beans are high-fibre foods People with hyperactive bladders must include fruits like grapes, bananas, apples, watermelon. Coconut water is also very beneficial. Eat more leafy greens and vegetables like spinach, fenugreek leaves, cucumber, lettuce, potatoes, carrots squash, broccoli, celery, and bell peppers. Also, multi-grain sprouts, oats, quinoa, barley, and walnuts are excellent protein sources.
Skip these foods: Avoid meals and drinks that make your bladder uncomfortable. Citrus fruits may irritate the bladder, although they should still be consumed. Some foods and beverages are known to aggravate the bladder. Diuretics like alcohol and caffeine, stimulate your body to generate more urine, so you can start by avoiding them. Also, eliminate certain foods from your diet, and add them back in gradually. The step will help you discover and avoid the foods that worsen your symptoms. Veggies, fresh and dried fruit, and beans can be beneficial. Many people report feeling better when they change their eating and drinking routines. Some examples of beverages and foods that affect the bladder are caffeinated beverages, tea, soda, carbonated beverages, and spicy foods.
OAB has no known cure, although most patients can lessen or eliminate their symptoms by making lifestyle or medicinal support, or by doing both. Your dietary triggers can significantly help you manage your symptoms and enhance your quality of life. Monitoring your fluid consumption and limiting your liquid intake to specific periods may also be helpful. Start a food journal if you believe your diet may be causing some of your symptoms. Make sure to record each meal as well as any after-meal symptoms. Write down what you were doing when the symptoms started if they start long after you’ve eaten. You could discover that certain activities, like working out, have a greater impact on your symptoms.