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What is Overactive Bladder (OAB)?

Post written by BFH Staff Writer on May 5, 2023
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As we age, it’s not uncommon to experience changes in our bodies. One such change that can affect both men and women is Overactive Bladder or OAB. What is OAB? OAB is a condition that affects the bladder and causes sudden and frequent urges to urinate. It can be frustrating, embarrassing, and interfere with daily activities. In this blog post, we will discuss OAB, its symptoms, statistics, and some interesting facts about the condition.

What is an Overactive Bladder (OAB)?

Overactive bladder, also known as OAB, is a condition that affects the bladder’s muscles, causing them to contract involuntarily. This can lead to a sudden and strong urge to urinate, even if the bladder is not full. OAB can occur at any age, but it is more common in older adults.

According to the National Association for Continence (NAFC), over 33 million Americans experience OAB symptoms. It’s estimated that 30% of men and 40% of women in the United States suffer from OAB. The condition affects people of all ages, but it is more prevalent in older adults. In fact, it’s estimated that over 50% of people over the age of 65 have symptoms of OAB.

Symptoms of OAB

The most common symptom of OAB is the sudden and urgent need to urinate. Other symptoms include:

  • Frequent urination (eight or more times in 24 hours)
  • Nocturia (waking up more than twice at night to urinate)
  • Urgency incontinence (leaking urine before reaching the restroom)

How To Prevent Overactive Bladder?

Overactive bladder (OAB) is a common condition that can impact one’s quality of life. Fortunately, following some healthy lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of developing OAB. Maintaining a healthy weight and getting regular physical activity and exercise are crucial to preventing OAB, as obesity and a sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of urinary problems. Limiting caffeine and alcohol is also recommended since both can aggravate OAB symptoms. Studies say that can also damage the bladder muscles.

Finally, doing kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles can improve bladder control and reduce OAB symptoms.

What is the best OAB medication?

The choice of overactive bladder (OAB) medication depends on various factors such as the severity of symptoms, individual response to medications, potential side effects, and the presence of any other medical conditions. There isn’t a single “best” OAB medication that suits everyone, as treatment is often personalized.

Several types of medications are commonly used to treat OAB:

  1. Anticholinergics: These medications work by relaxing the bladder muscle and reducing spasms. Examples include oxybutynin, tolterodine, solifenacin, darifenacin, myrbetriq , and fesoterodine. They can come in different forms such as pills, patches, or topical gels.
  2. Beta-3 adrenergic agonists: Mirabegron is the primary medication in this category. It works by relaxing the bladder muscle and increasing its storage capacity.
  3. Combination therapies: Some individuals may benefit from a combination of medications, such as using an anticholinergic along with mirabegron, to achieve better symptom control.
  4. Topical Estrogen: For postmenopausal women, topical estrogen therapy may be prescribed to improve the tone and function of the urethra and bladder.
  5. Botulinum toxin injections: In severe cases where other medications haven’t provided relief, injections of botulinum toxin into the bladder muscle may be considered.

Interesting Facts about OAB

Here are some interesting facts about OAB that you may not know:

  1. OAB can result from several factors, including neurological conditions, medications, and lifestyle factors like caffeine and alcohol consumption.
  2. OAB can be treated through a combination of lifestyle changes, medication, and in some cases, surgery.
  3. Women are more likely to experience OAB than men, but men who have had prostate surgery are at a higher risk for developing OAB.
  4. Kegel exercises, which involve squeezing and relaxing the muscles used to control urine flow, can help strengthen the pelvic muscles and improve bladder control.

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