Toll-Free(877) 688-2729

What You Need to Know About Overactive Bladder

by Jessica July 2 2018 06:05
what you need to know about oab

Do you find yourself suddenly needing to go to the bathroom without warning? Do you worry about socializing or spending time away from home because you're experiencing urine leakage? Do you need to urinate more often than usual or even experience unexpected urination at night (also known as nocturia)?

If so, it's possible you may be living with a form of urinary incontinence called overactive bladder.

We want to assure you that you are not the only one dealing with this condition. In fact, overactive bladder, which is also known as OAB, affects approximately 33 million Americans. However, according to the Official Foundation of the American Urological Association, that number may be higher than reported, since there are a lot of people living with symptoms of incontinence or overactive bladder who feel embarrassed to talk about it or see their doctor.

We want to empower you with the information you need to be able to ask for help and discuss your symptoms with your treating physician. Here are some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about overactive bladder, which we hope will help you learn more about this condition, including its symptoms, potential causes, and treatment options.

What Is Overactive Bladder?

urge incontinence oabOveractive bladder is just what it sounds like: a bladder that's working overtime.

Some of the main symptoms of overactive bladder include:

  • sudden urge to urinate
  • urine leakage
  • making more trips to the bathroom than before

Those living with overactive bladder may also experience secondary symptoms, which may include:

  • fatigue from disrupted sleep due to nocturia
  • embarrassment
  • decreased social activity
  • depression

What Causes Overactive Bladder?

aging and oabOveractive bladder can happen to anyone at any time. However, it's important to know that both age and gender may potentially be related causes.

Pelvic floor muscles and even the muscles of the bladder sometimes weaken as our bodies age. This is one of the reasons why urinary incontinence tends to happen more frequently to women than men, since hormonal fluctuations and childbirth are a common cause of weakened pelvic floor muscles.

There are a variety of other factors that could trigger an overactive bladder.

Sometimes, people may experience symptoms of overactive bladder caused by lifestyle changes. These cases are are often only temporary.

alcohol intake and overactive bladderFor example, a night of drinking a little too much alcohol can lead to increased bladder activity and even bed-wetting. Drinking too many fluids in general makes one urinate more frequently as well. Bladder irritants and diuretics like caffeine can also function in the same way, leading the body to release more urine than normal. You may want to speak to your doctor about the right amounts and types of fluid to intake for your individual needs.

However, there are some serious underlying conditions that can cause chronic urinary incontinence and overactive bladder as well. Neurological disorders like Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson’s disease carry risk factors for overactive bladder. Diabetes and kidney disease are two others.

This is why it is so important to see your doctor and get properly diagnosed, especially if your symptoms have lasted for longer than a few days or weeks. 

How is Overactive Bladder Treated?

The treatment for an overactive bladder will mainly depend on the cause.

In some of the aforementioned instances of drinking too many fluids like alcohol or coffee, a little diet modification may be all that is necessary.

gentlecath straight catheterSometimes, it's as simple as strengthening your pelvic floor muscles. Your doctor may suggest specific exercises like Kegels to help strengthen those muscles and get your bladder back in proper working order.

Your doctor may also recommend the use of intermittent catheters.

Medication may also help some people, while surgery may be required in more serious situations. 

Again, the most important thing to know is that it is absolutely normal to experience these kinds of symptoms, and it is perfectly alright to ask for help from your healthcare provider. They will not judge or shame you; they're here to help you! If you notice symptoms of overactive bladder or other changes to your urinary system, we recommend that you schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.

If your treatment plan requires the use of intermittent catheters to help treat the symptoms of overactive bladder or urinary incontinence, 180 Medical is here for you every step of the way.

As the leading catheter supplier in the nation, we carry a full line of catheter products from the top brands and manufacturers on the market today.

popular catheter brands

Our catheter specialists are ready to help you find the right catheter product for your needs and preferences. Give us a call today!

Disclaimer: This blog should not be taken as medical advice and is only intended to provide a general understanding of overactive bladder. This information should not be used in place of any recommendations, prescribed treatment plans, or medical advice from your professional healthcare provider.

Related Posts You May Find Helpful:

What Is Neurogenic Bladder?

by Jessica October 31 2017 06:36
what is neurogenic bladder

If you think you have neurogenic bladder, you should know that you are certainly not alone. Neurogenic bladder can happen to anyone at any age from newborns to senior citizens. While millions of people in the United States live with neurogenic bladder, we understand it can feel like a sensitive topic to discuss. Read on to find out the answers to some of your questions about neurogenic bladder. 

What Causes Neurogenic Bladder?

Neurogenic bladder is typically caused by another condition that affects the nerves of the bladder and/or the way the urinary system functions, including difficulty controlling when and how the bladder stores or releases urine. A number of different conditions could potentially cause neurogenic bladder, including the fmollowing:

  • Spina bifida 
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease
  • Stroke
  • Spinal cord injuries or spinal nerve trauma
  • Nerve damage from pelvic/abdominal surgery

What Are the Symptoms of Neurogenic Bladder?

Typically, the symptoms vary from person to person. It will likely depend on the extent of nerve damage. There are sub-categories of neurogenic bladder, which are Overactive Bladder and Underactive Bladder. Some people present with symptoms of their bladder being both overactive and underactive. 

An overactive bladder will typically present with symptoms of leakage of urine or more severe incontinence, depending on the severity of the condition. There may be issues with frequent urination, or feeling the need to go to the bathroom multiple times, whether it's daytime or at night. 

An underactive bladder doesn't release urine the way it should, which means the muscles around the bladder or the urethra may stay tightened rather than relaxing to allow the bladder to fully empty. 

living with neurogenic bladderHaving symptoms like these may make you want to isolate yourself or back out of activities because of anxiety about possible leaks or frequent trips to the restroom. Untreated neurogenic bladder can put a kink in plans and keep you from doing things you normally enjoy doing.  You might even be dealing with some fatigue if you have to get up frequently during the night due to an overactive bladder or occasional unexpected messes.

Urinary tract infections or bladder infections can also occur if the bladder is not fully emptying, and depending on your symptoms, if left untreated, it could potentially cause more severe infections or even kidney damage. This is why seeking treatment is so important.

What is the Treatment for Neurogenic Bladder?

Whatever the cause, we understand that having a neurogenic bladder can significantly impact your quality of life. That's why it's so important to schedule an appointment with a urologist or your general health practitioner as soon as possible when you notice any strange symptoms impacting your bladder's health. Fast treatment may be able to prevent kidney damage or other issues. Your doctor will likely review your medical history, go over any recent possible injuries or other physical symptoms you may have had, and order several tests to determine the cause. 

treatment of neurogenic bladderIf you are diagnosed with neurogenic bladder, know that there are plenty of options for treatment that can help, many of which could be as simple as basic lifestyle changes, depending on the severity of your condition. Your doctor is the right person to go to for this information, and they will be able to suggest the treatments that they determine may be right for your individual needs, your medical history, and your preferences.

Some options for treating neurogenic bladder may include but are not limited to:

  • Medication
  • Scheduled intermittent catheterization
  • Dietary and fluid intake changes
  • Bladder augmentation
  • Pelvic floor exercises
  • Urinary diversion

Intermittent catheters are commonly used to aid urination and improve day-to-day life. Catheterization may help you gain back a sense of independence, and you may feel less anxious about potential messes or not being able to urinate on your own when you know you have the right amount of sterile catheters on hand, no matter where you go. 

In cases where the doctor determines that the dysfunction of the bladder is severe enough, it may warrant a procedure known as a urostomy, which creates an artificial opening known as a stoma so the urine can be diverted and emptied from the body more efficiently. If you end up undergoing a urostomy procedure, you'll need urostomy supplies.

At 180 Medical, we specialize in both intermittent catheters and ostomy products, and we like to treat every customer like a member of our own family. When you call our team of specialists, you can feel confident knowing that we'll listen to your needs and preferences while treating your sensitive situation with the compassion and care that you deserve.

Contact us today!

what's next after ostomy surgery
What's Next After Your
Ostomy Surgery?
top 5 tips for bladder health
Top 5 Tips to Keep
Your Bladder Healthy

Top 5 Tips to Keep Your Bladder Healthy

by Jessica November 30 2016 10:55

November is National Bladder Health Month, and we are glad that an entire month is dedicated to the importance of the bladder. It's an organ that often goes unrecognized in its impact on your body's health until it stops working the way it should, but it's a crucial part of your urinary system as well as your overall well-being. Even your emotions can be impacted when you experience adverse symptoms that come with a condition such as an overactive bladder (OAB), bladder cancer, Interstitial Cystitis (also known as Bladder Pain Syndrome), incontinence (loss of bladder control) or urinary retention (an inability to empty the bladder completely), to name a few more common issues. 

Literally millions of people are affected by these conditions, particularly incontinence (which is estimated to affect anywhere from 1/4 to 1/3 of all men and women in the United States), so it's important to bring awareness about bladder health, bladder conditions, and how common they are, as a first step of getting rid of the stigma associated with these issues. 

Top 5 Tips for Bladder Health

We here at 180 Medical are committed to making sure you have the information you need to stay as healthy as possible, so here are some tips for your bladder's health.

1. Watch what you drink. 
Drinking the right amount of water for your individual needs (typically between six to eight 8 oz. glasses) is, of course, crucial for your body's overall health. The proper amount of fluid assists your entire urinary system in doing its job to flush waste from your body. But did you know that both caffeine (usually consumed in the form of coffee, certain sodas, or tea) and alcohol are both bladder irritants? Caffeine also acts as a diuretic, which can overstimulate the bladder and reduces your body's fluid. These are both things you'll want to avoid, particularly if you are dealing with symptoms of incontinence or overactive bladder. 

2. Quit smoking.
Did you know that smoking tobacco (cigarettes, cigars, etc.) actually increases the risk of bladder cancer? If you smoke, you are actually 2 to 3 times more likely to develop bladder cancer than non-smokers. The chemicals in tobacco are filtered through your lungs, out of your blood, and finally into the urinary system as waste, and eventually, these chemicals can affect the lining of the bladder, which increases the chance of cancer developing over time. Among the other many reasons to quit smoking, this is certainly an important one to consider.  

3. Lose excess weight.
If you are overweight, working to lose weight can also help reduce symptoms of stress urinary incontinence. When extra weight presses down on the bladder and the supporting muscles, it makes it harder for your body to hold on to the fluid inside the bladder, which can cause leakage, especially when you laugh, cough, sneeze. Daily exercise and eating right can help you get closer to your fitness goals as well as improve your bladder's health.

talk to your doctor 4. Do your daily Kegels.
Just like lifting weights strengthens and tones your muscles, Kegel exercises are important for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder and the urethra, which can have a very positive effect and lessens symptoms of incontinence. Learn more about how to perform Kegels here.

5.  Talk to your doctor. 
If you are experiencing any unusual symptoms, such as urine leakage, an inability to void your bladder, or any pain/discomfort in the pelvic region or when urinating, be sure to schedule an appointment to see a healthcare professional that can best diagnose what's going on as well as determine a proper treatment plan. Many avoid going to see a urologist or their general practitioner about their "bathroom troubles," because it can feel embarrassing, but as said, many people experience these issues too, and doctors are there to get you well again. 

If you need to use intermittent catheters as part of your doctor's treatment plan, we're happy to help you find the best catheter for your needs. Contact us today to speak with one of our trained, friendly specialists.

About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 7 years. Her current job title is Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company.