Overactive Bladder (OAB) is a common condition that affects millions of women. It’s not a disease but rather a group of bothering urinary symptoms. According to the Urology Care Foundation, over 40% of all women in the US live with OAB symptoms.
The major symptom of OAB is the “gotta go” feeling – the sudden, strong urge to urinate that you can’t control. Or that you feel you won’t be able to make it to the bathroom on time. You may or may not leak after having this urge.
OAB is something that a lot of women don’t feel comfortable about sharing with anyone. It’s gets joked about but honestly it is so common and there are solutions
If you live with OAB you may also experience:
- Leaking Urine (incontinence): This is called Urge Incontinence. This means the urine leaks out after feeling the sudden urge to go. This is not the same as stress urinary incontinence or SUI which happens when you leak urine while sneezing, laughing, coughing or physical activities.
- Frequent urination: You may need to go to the bathroom many times a day
- Waking at night to urinate: Having to wake from sleep to go to the bathroom more than once a night is also another symptom of OAB.
What causes OAB?
OAB can happen when the nerve signals between your brain and bladder tell your bladder to empty even when it isn’t full. It can also occur when the muscles in your bladder are overactive and contract before you bladder is full.
- Limiting bladder-irritating foods. Common irritants include coffee, tea, alcohol, wine, caffeinated soda, fizzy drinks, citrus fruit and spicy foods. You can try taking them all away and then adding them back in one at a time to see which ones you irritating to you.
- Bladder Diary: Tracking your trips to the bathroom can help better understand your symptoms.
- Double voiding: After you go to the bathroom, stay on the toilet and sit a wait a few minutes until you completely empty.
- Bladder training or exercises
If lifestyle changes don’t provide enough relief, there are several drugs available on the market that may help.