Overactive Bladder (OAB) in Men and Women

When will your overactive bladder strike next, and at what cost?

When your bladder is unpredictable, life becomes unpredictable. And when life is unpredictable, you lose control over things most people take for granted, like sleeping through the night and enjoying a movie or meal. If you’re tired of needing to sit a few feet away from the restroom everywhere you go, it’s time to learn more about your condition and do something about it.

Have you said, “I have an overactive bladder?”

You are not alone. An estimated 30% of men and 40% of women in the US suffer from symptoms of OAB (1). However, the embarrassment and disruption that an overactive bladder brings to your life don’t have to be permanent. If you’re seeking a cure for an overactive bladder, you have treatment options available to you and there are ways to reduce the strength of your symptoms.

Both men and women can suffer from OAB

The consequences of giving your overactive bladder control over your life.

An overactive bladder may sound like a minor problem to those who don’t suffer from it. You know that OAB has a greater impact on your life than simply forcing you to make a few extra trips to the bathroom. Overactive bladder often comes with the following:

  • Embarrassment
  • Stress and anxiety
  • The desire to isolate from others
  • Complications to your work life
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Limits on your social life

What is an overactive bladder?

To know what an overactive bladder is, you first need to know the answer to the question, “how do you know when you need to urinate?”

When your bladder is full, your brain is notified that you need to urinate by signals sent by your nerves. When you are ready to urinate, muscles in your pelvic floor and urethra relax to allow urine to flow out, and your bladder muscles contract to push the urine through your urethra.

When your brain is notified that you have to urinate when your bladder is not full, meaning there is an issue with the muscles and nerves in your bladder, you have an overactive bladder. When urine is pushed through your urethra involuntarily, you have incontinence, and will experience embarrassing leaks.

Overactive bladder (OAB) is a condition in men and women that causes frequent urges to urinate and an immediate urge to urinate despite the bladder not being full. This is an unpredictable condition, and it can be hard or impossible to tell when and where it will occur. The strength of the urgency to urinate often leads to “leaking urine” or an “involuntary loss of urine,” called incontinence.

What causes your overactive bladder?

The causes of an overactive bladder can vary, but common causes of OAB symptoms include:

  • Aging
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke or similar neurological disorders
  • Tumors
  • Bladder stones

Causes of Overactive Bladder in Men

Among the causes of an overactive bladder in men, the most common cause is an enlarged prostate. In men, the urethra allows urine to exit the body, enabling urine to flow freely from the bladder. An overactive bladder in men develops because this process is prohibited, which occurs when the prostate is enlarged.

When the prostate grows, which happens with age, it puts pressure on the urethra, making it difficult for urine to empty out of your bladder and through the urethra. This makes it difficult to determine when the bladder is full and ready to empty.

Causes of Overactive Bladder in Women

An overactive bladder in a woman may be the result of multiple causes, including:

  • Pregnancy
  • Changes in the body from childbirth
  • Loss of strength in pelvic muscles

Women who have an overactive bladder may also have mixed incontinence, which happens when both urgency incontinence and stress incontinence are present. Stress incontinence happens when an action places pressure on the bladder, forcing urination. This action can be anything from exercise to a sneeze or laugh. While stress incontinence and urge incontinence appear to be related, treatment for one condition will not help with the other.

To determine the cause of your overactive bladder, schedule your appointment with Dr. Taber at Urology One today.

Overactive Bladder Symptoms

Overactive bladders disrupt the lives of those who suffer from it. If you have an overactive bladder, you may experience one or several of the following symptoms:

  • The need to urinate suddenly
  • Leaking
  • The uncontrollable urge to urinate
  • Needing to urinate constantly, 8+ times a day
  • Waking during the night due to the urge to urinate

Men and women can experience slightly different OAB symptoms.

Symptoms of Overactive Bladder

Overactive Bladder Symptoms in Men

Symptoms common for men with an overactive bladder include:

  • The urge to urinate frequently, over 8 times each day
  • Incontinence (leaking)
  • Inability to empty the bladder
  • Waking up at night to urinate twice or more

Overactive Bladder Symptoms in Women

Symptoms common for women with an overactive bladder include:

  • The urge to urinate frequently, over 8 times each day
  • Uncontrollable urge to urinate suddenly
  • Release of urine due to the uncontrollable urge to urinate
  • Waking up at night to urinate twice or more

Even if you can get to the toilet in time when you sense the urge to urinate, frequently urinating, whether during the day or night, disrupts your life. Is your life being disrupted? If your symptoms bring you discomfort and complicate your life, it’s time to talk to the physicians at Urology One. Schedule your appointment today!

Is an overactive bladder the cause of your bladder issues?

Bladder issues develop with age. If you’re experiencing incontinence, it may be the result of a disease or disorder, including diabetes, cancer, an enlarged prostate, or an overactive bladder, which are all known for disrupting the function of your bladder.

Diagnosing Your Overactive Bladder

Has the urge to urinate strengthened and become unpredictable? Determining the cause of your overactive bladder symptoms may be as easy as having a brief evaluation. Urology One can conduct a general evaluation to determine the cause of your symptoms.

Your evaluation will include considering the following pieces of information:

  • Personal medical history
  • Observations from:
    - Physical Exam
    - Neuro Exam
  • Urine sample
  • Bladder function tests
    - Bladder ultrasound scan
    - Flow rate test
    - Bladder pressure test (cystometry)

The information collected and test results will provide a full picture of your condition, aiding your physician in making a diagnosis. The diagnosis will then be used to recommend a treatment for your overactive bladder.

Consultation on overactive bladder issues

Can lifestyle changes bring you relief from your overactive bladder?

The answer is yes -- lifestyle changes may bring you relief from your overactive bladder if your condition is the result of your lifestyle. By shifting your habits, you may reduce your symptoms and find a natural way to control your bladder. Lifestyle changes associated with potentially reducing the severity of your overactive bladder symptoms include:

  • Making changes to your diet
    - Elimination diet
    - Avoiding alcohol and caffeine
  • Exercise and maintaining a healthy weight
  • Strengthening your pelvic floor (Kegel exercises)
  • Regularly scheduling bathroom breaks

Lifestyle changes may bring you relief from symptoms related to an overactive bladder, but this depends on the root cause of your issue. If changes you make do not reduce your symptoms, further treatment is needed.

Overactive Bladder Treatment: Sacral Neuromodulation Therapy from Axonics

You have options when seeking to restore your bladder or bowel control. Sacral neuromodulation therapy, also called Axonics Therapy, treats overactive bladder symptoms, urinary (urgency) incontinence, bowel incontinence, and urinary retention. It accomplishes this with a safe, small device. The device, implanted in your body, gently administers the therapy by stimulating the bladder and bowel-controlling nerves. This gives you back control of your bladder and your life.

Before the system is installed, you will be evaluated to see if Axonics Therapy is the right treatment. You will be fitted with a temporary sacral neuromodulation therapy system, giving you a commitment-free trial before making a final decision.

If you and your doctor determine that Axonics Therapy is a fit for you, the small device will be placed underneath the skin in the upper buttock.

Find Relief from Your Overactive Bladder with Urology One

An overactive bladder is not a condition without options for relief. Stop wondering how many trips to the bathroom you’ll be forced to make today. Treatment is accessible, and although surgery is an option, safe, minimally-invasive options are available.

Urology One physician Dr. Tabet specializes in treating overactive bladders with the Axonics Sacral Neuromodulation Therapy. Learn more about sacral neuromodulation therapy to treat overactive bladder here!

Find answers and relief for your overactive bladder. Request your appointment with Dr. Taber at Urology One.