Causes, Symptoms and Treatment for Overactive Bladder (OAB)

Overactive Bladder (OAB) is a common condition. About 33 million Americans have overactive bladder. As many as 30 percent of men and 40 percent of women in the United States live with OAB symptoms.

Overactive bladder isn’t a disease. It is a name of a group of urinary symptoms. In most instances of overactive bladder, there is an absence of any identifiable disease state such as a bladder infection, neurologic disease, bladder malignancy or diabetes.

Many people decide it’s time to seek help for overactive bladder when they begin to suffer from the loss of urinary control.

overactive bladder

Symptoms of Overactive Bladder:

  • Sudden urge to urinate with or without the loss of urine
  • Urinary frequency – defined as voiding more than 10 times within a 24-hour period
  • Nighttime urination – defined as waking up more than once per night to urinate

Causes of Overactive Bladder Symptoms:

  • Medical disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, strokes (CVA)
  • Excessive fluid intake
  • Medication induced such as diuretics
  • Outlet obstruction caused by blockage of urine flowing out of the bladder such as an enlarge prostate or stricture of the urethra
  • Excessive caffeine and alcohol intake

Diagnosing Overactive Bladder:

  • Besides a routine history and physical, common lab studies include a urinalysis and culture as well as lab work screening for renal disease as well as diabetes.
  • Other studies that are also commonly ordered include a flow study and/or a urodynamic study.
  • Occasionally a cystoscopy may also be recommended as well.

Treatment for Overactive Bladder:

  • Behavior modification
  • Kegel or pelvic floor exercise
  • Dietary changes
  • Limiting fluid intake
  • Medications
  • Botox
  • Neuro-modulation using devices such as posterior tibial nerve stimulator (PTNS or Urgent PC® or placement of an Interstim®
  • Bladder augmentation