A combination of the need to urinate more frequently, have more urgency, experience incontinence (leakage) and a need to urinate at night contribute to the condition of an overactive bladder (OAB). With OAB, the bladder contracts at the wrong time, sending signals to the brain, in turn telling the bladder to empty before it gets really full. The symptoms associated with OAB can significantly affect the social, psychological, occupational, domestic, physical and sexual aspects of those who suffer fom it. Considerable stress and a negative impact on quality of life makes the condition a challenge for successful management. Dramatic improvement in quality of life can be achieved as there are techniques and therapies guided by kidney stone treatment hospital in Chennai foremost evaluation and treatment of OAB.
Causes of Overactive Bladder
In normal functions, urine produced by the kidneys drains into the bladder and then passed from the bladder through a tube called the urethra while urinating. The sphincter, a muscle in the urethra opens to release urine out of the body. The urethral opening is located just above the vaginal opening in women and at the tip of the penis in men. Nerve signals sent to the brain when the bladder fills is the trigger to feel the need to urinate. While urinating, the coordination of nerve signals facilitates the relaxation of pelvic floor muscles and urinary sphincter muscles. This is followed by contracting of the bladder to push the urine out.
When the muscles of the bladder start to contract involuntarily, creating an urgent need to urinate even with very less volume of urine in the bladder, it causes the symptoms of overactive bladder. The cause for an OAB could be one of several factors or a combination of factors. Some of the possible causative factors are:
- Weak pelvic muscles: Pelvic surgery, physical work that increases abdominal strain or Pregnancy/childbirth in women can cause pelvic muscles that support the pelvic organs to stretch and weaken, allowing the bladder to sag out of its normal position. These factors can contribute towards urine leakage and other symptoms of OAB.
- Age/Nerve damage: Old age, trauma or certain medical conditions can alter the signals sent to the brain and bladder, triggering the bladder to empty at the wrong time. Such pre-existing medical conditions with risk for OAB include pelvic or back surgery, intervertebral disc herniation, radiation therapy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and stroke causing paralysis.
- Medications, alcohol and caffeine: All these can affect the nerves that trigger and control urination and thus alters the signal to the brain, resulting in bladder overflow. Diuretics and caffeine have the ability to fill up the bladder rapidly and possibly cause leakage of urine.
- Infection: Irritation of the bladder nerves can be caused by an infection such as urinary tract infection that can cause the bladder to squeeze without warning.
- Overweight: Heavy body weight places additional pressure on the bladder, leading to urge incontinence.
- Hormone deficiency: Leakage of urine due to urgency can be contributed by changes in hormones.
- Abnormalities – Tumours or stones in the bladder, enlarged prostate or constipation are some examples of abnormalities that can cause OAB.
Despite many possible causes, there may be often no specific explanation for why OAB occurs. A brief evaluationat the best hospital for kidney stone treatment in Chennai is required to determine if there is a specific cause for overactive bladder symptoms.
Symptoms of overactive bladder
A collection of symptoms that represent OAB can include:
- Urinary urgency is a failure to be able to delay the need to urinate. The urgency in the need to urinate gives only a limited amount of time to get to a bathroom.
- Frequency of urination is experiencedas a symptom with the need to urinate very oftenusually eight or more times in 24 hours. Typically, the number of times one urinates is increased compared to previous frequency experienced.
- Urge incontinence involves leakage of urine or unintentional loss of urine immediately when the urge to urinate arises.
- Nocturia is a symptom characterized by waking up each night with the need to urinate at least two times.
Treatment for Overactive bladder – A range of treatment options are available for OAB.
Behaviour changes – Many techniques can be tried and followed in typical behaviour to help with an overactive bladder. Techniques can include:
- Keeping a daily log of the fluid intake, frequency of urination and accidents of leakages.
- Monitoring diet and fluid intake such as eliminating or decreasing foods and beverages that can irritate the bowel.
- Reducing body weight can relievesome pressure on the bladder.
- Maintaining bowel regularity through exercise, fibre and non-irritating fluid intake can keep the bowel movements free of constipation.
- Quit smoking.
- Bladder retraining can be achieved by learning how to control the feeling of urgency, postpone voiding, and urinate according to a timetable. It involves a series of steps and strategies that need to be followed with patience over a period of 6 to 8 weeks to get trained.
Medications are usually tried after trying behaviour modification therapy. Medications can work effectively to return normal bladder function. Risks and benefits of using commonly prescribed medications need to be discussed with the urologist.
Nerve stimulation -It is a reversible treatment of the nerves that is opted when conservative treatments have not been effective or have not been tolerated by the patient.
Prevention of overactive bladder
Healthy lifestyle choices can bring down the risk of overactive bladder. Lifestyle modifications aimed at maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, good eating habits, to quit smoking are some significant ways to prevent symptoms of OAB. Symptoms of OAB are common in chronic conditions like diabetes and proper management of such conditions can help prevent OAB. Kegel’s exercises as advised by the best hospital for kidney stone in Chennai can be learnt to strengthen and train pelvic floor muscles to tighten, hold and relax the bladder at regular intervals over several progressive repetitions.