It’s hard to tell which aspect of overactive bladder is worse: running for the bathroom day and night or leaking urine when you least expect it. Overactive bladder is a name given to a group of conditions that all have thing in common. They all cause you to “go” more often than you’d like, often at inconvenient times or places. Although overactive bladder is troubling, it doesn’t have to be a life sentence. Through lifestyle changes, medication and medical interventions, you can regain control over your bladder.
Your doctor may encourage you to try some at-home tricks to help strengthen your bladder control. First of all, you may need to watch what you eat and drink. Acidic foods, such as tomatoes and citrus fruits, can cause bladder irritation, and chocolate can be troublesome too. Beverages can be even more bothersome, so your doctor may encourage you to limit your consumption of coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcohol.
Another lifestyle approach involves paying close attention to your bladder habits. Your doctor may ask you to try double voiding, in which you empty your bladder as much as possible, pause for a few seconds, and then try to go one more time. Another practice you might try is maintaining a bathroom schedule to help teach your body to pass urine at planned times.
According to Advanced Urology Associates, Anticholinergics (Oxybutynin, Detol, Vesicare) are the first line of drugs to help control bothersome bladder symptoms in conjunction with natural treatments. If they aren’t effective for you, your doctor may suggest trying Beta-3 agonists instead.
Most often, the initial course of treatment is four to six weeks. If improvement is noted, you will stay on the medication for several months. After that, you will try stopping the medication to evaluate symptoms.
If stronger treatments are required, you may be a candidate for medical interventions. For example, your doctor may give your bladder muscle a BOTOX injection to reduce its contractions. Each treatment lasts for several months.
Other medical interventions involve neuromodulation. This type of therapy improves the function of the nerves related to urination. It can be achieved through external treatments or an implanted device.
An overactive bladder is a frustrating but fixable problem. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment. However, you and your doctor can work together to find the best treatment for your overactive bladder.