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What is overactive bladder? (OAB)

What is overactive bladder? (OAB)

OAB is when you cannot control your bladder contractions. When these muscle contractions happen too often or can’t be controlled. OAB is a combination of symptoms that can cause you to need to urinate more frequently, have more urgency and experience incontinence.

There are many possible reasons for OAB, including your lifestyle. 

Alcohol and caffeine act as a diuretic which causes the body to produce more urine. Just drinking lots of fluids in general can weigh in on OAB symptoms.

Serious health conditions can lead to OAB. Strokes or nervous system problems, such as multiple sclerosis (MS) or Parkinson's Disease. Health issues like diabetes and kidney disease can affect too.

Severe UTIs can lead to symptoms that are like those of OAB in both men and women. In men, an enlarged prostate often results in OAB.

The urge to urinate may be difficult to control and lead to the involuntary loss of urine (incontinence). Incontinence can occur to people of all ages and for many reasons.

Below is a list of common symptoms and causes.

Incontinence Type

Common Symptoms

Common Causes

Stress

Urine loss during activities such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, jumping, or lifting

Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, pelvic radiation, surgical trauma

Urge

An occasional sudden need to urinate with large volume urine loss; can also exist without incontinence

May be associated with pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, pelvic trauma, and neurologic diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis

Mixed

Combination of stress and urge incontinence

A combination of any of the stress or urge incontinence common causes listed above

Overflow

A frequent dribble of urine due to inefficient bladder emptying; symptoms are similar to stress incontinence

Many causes, such as spinal cord injury, diabetes, neurological damage, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or an enlarged prostate

Functional

Urine loss not associated with any pathology or problem in the urinary system

Associated with physical or cognitive impairment such as immobility, Alzheimer’s disease, or head injury

Reflex

Reflex (spastic bladder) incontinence happens when the bladder fills with urine and an involuntary reflex causes it to contract in an effort to empty

Usually occurs when the spinal cord is injured above the area medically labeled as the “T12” level

 

A Few Tips to Help with OAB

  1. Avoid liquids right before bed or at least 2 hours before so your bladder is empty.
  2. Use protective pads and bed sheets, try rubberized sheets.
  3. Try eliminating caffeine from your diet.
  4. Alcohol can worsen your symptoms and interrupt your sleep, try cutting back.
  5. Accidents and OAB can go hand in hand. Need a little reassurance? Consider trying our reusable underwear. Super comfy, stretchable, and ultra-protective. Eco-friendly way to protect you from leaks and embarrassing situations.
  6. Give yourself plenty of time in the bathroom to make sure you completely empty your bladder.