Overactive Bladder and Incontinence?




An over active bladder is a set of symptoms defined as an increased frequency and urgency to urinate. Frequency is usually defined as urinating more than 8 times a day.

The main distinction between an over active bladder and urinary incontinence is over activity of the detrusor muscle as distinct from urinary stress incontinence which is caused by losing urine without meaning to during physical activity, such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercise.

When the two occur together, the condition is usually known as mixed or complex incontinence.

Overactive bladder normally occurs with age but can affect all age groups.

In some people, the urge to urinate is purely sensory, meaning feel the need to urinate even though the detrusor muscle is not contracting. In other words its all in your head,but not always.

The main points or characteristics of an overactive bladder could include:

There are some set of neurological disorders like strokes, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, back surgery, pelvic surgery, and multiple sclerosis which can cause an overactive bladder.

Why is that?

Well what happens is the bladder or the brain may be sending signals to one another at the wrong time .

Sometimes when the one with an over active bladder lies down this can stimulate the detrusor muscle through a chemical /hormonal reaction to produce more urine creating the need to visit the toilet frequently at night.

An overactive bladder may also be the symptom of:

Ø High urine production occurring with large fluid intakes, poor kidney function. It could also be related to alcohol intake and coffee can also irritate the bladder.

Ø Urinary tract infections can cause symptoms similar to an overactive bladder

Ø A blockage in the urethra such as enlarged prostate, surgeries even constipation can .

Ø Abnormalities in the bladder, such as kidney stones or bladder tumours.

Ø There are certain medications when mixed or taken can increase urine production.

Ø Estrogen deficiency after menopause can cause an overactive bladder

Ø Excess weight although this is generally associated with incontinence.

The first priority of having an overactive bladder is to rule out cancer. This can be done with a series of tests to start such as a blood and urine test and possibility an xray or CAT Scan.

It is important to do this fairly promptly as the longer a cancer lingers obviously the more damage it can cause . See your GP explain to him/her the symptoms and get the tests done.

Once cancer has been eliminated from the list other causes of an over active bladder like infection, bladder tumor can be dealt with.

Over active bladder treatments can include:

Reduce alcohol, caffeine and if possible the quantity of medicines you are taking . See your GP to prescribe a different set of drugs that may not stimulate the bladder so readily.

As mention in this web site –surgery ,if it has to be done should be the last option when nothing else is avilable to you as any surgery is a major decision and is often irreversible.


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