Overactive Bladder (OAB)
Overactive Bladder (OAB) is the name given to a common condition that causes a variety of urinary symptoms in both women and men. This form of bladder dysfunction is associated with a strong desire to urinate (Urgency) usually with frequent voids (Frequency) and/or night voids (Nocturia) with or without urinary incontinence (Urge Incontincence).
Treatment Options for Overactive Bladder
A variety of treatment options are available for this form of incontinence including:
- Behavioral Modification (Bladder Training Program)
- BIOFEEDBACK (Pelvic Muscle Training)
- Oral Therapy (Medications)
- Posterior Tibial Nerve Stimulation (PTNS)
- Botox Injection In The Bladder
- Bladder pacemaker (Interstim Neuromodulation)
Overactive Bladder can often be helped through behavior modification – a type of “training program” for your bladder. When you have overactive bladder, over time your bladder becomes conditioned to react in a certain way. By retraining the pelvic muscles, you can hold urine better. Bladder retraining involves working with your Genesis Female Urology Specialists to learn how to resist or inhibit the feeling of urgency; postpone voiding; and urinate according to a timetable rather than in response to a feeling of urgency. Dietary changes and other healthy lifestyle changes can add to the success of bladder training. Medications may also be helpful in controlling urgency. A Genesis Urology Specialist can create a Bladder Training Program specifically for your needs and help determine if some simple steps can help resolve your overactive bladder.
The challenge with Pelvic muscle exercises (KEGEL Exercises) is that it can be difficult to know for sure if you are doing them correctly and that you are actually exercising the right muscle. Many women who try Kegel exercises don’t achieve the results they want and often give up too soon. Biofeedback helps you perform these exercises in a manner that is truly engaging the muscles of the pelvic floor. In addition, you will be able to measure your progress and determine the strength of your pelvic muscle contractions over time. Biofeedback is an excellent tool that helps many women achieve positive results and is available through your Genesis Urology Specialist.
There are several effective medications available for women with overactive bladder and/or urge incontinence. The type of medication is based on your specific bladder control problem. Ask your Genesis Urology Specialist about the risks and benefits of drug therapy for your specific condition.
Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS) is an FDA cleared device. The technique uses electrical stimulation for the management of urinary frequency, urgency, and incontinence. The idea of stimulating the tibial nerve is based on the traditional Chinese practice of using acupuncture to affect bladder activity. An electrode is used to send an electrical pulse that travels to the sacral nerve plexus via the tibial nerve. The procedure is short and is administered weekly over a period of 12 weeks. A Genesis Urology Specialist can discuss the details of this treatment with you.
Botox injections in the bladder is another alternative management option for patients with OAB who have failed or are unable to tolerate Behavioral Mediation or Oral Therapy. Botox injections is an effective therapy for patients with OAB. The procedure is short and is usually done in the office. As the effects of Botox wear off over time, the procedure may need to be repeated once or twice a year.
Interstim Neuromodulation uses mild electrical pulses to modulate the nerves that control the bladder and the muscles related to urination. Similar to a pacemaker, this implantable device sends mild electrical pulses to regulate the sacral nerves, located near the tailbone. The sacral nerves control the bladder and the pelvic muscles related to urinary function. Neuromodulation is an option for managing the symptoms of overactive bladder and/or urge incontinence, and/or urinary retention. Talk with your Genesis Urology Specialist about whether a bladder pacemaker is right for you.
Other forms of incontinence
The most common form of urinary incontinence is called Mixed Urinary Incontinence in which the patient has both stress incontinence due to weak sphincter and urge incontinence due to overactive bladder.
Other forms of urinary incontinence are less common including Overflow incontinence caused by the inability of the bladder to empty properly due to obstruction, and Functional Incontinence that is caused by the inability to get to the bathroom in time due to limited mobility (such as severe arthritis) or cognitive impairment (such as Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia).