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Acting Up An Overview of Overactive Bladder

It’s a condition that many women struggle with in private, too embarrassed to mention to their health care provider. They assume it’s a normal part of aging, or that they can hide their symptoms. Women affected by overactive bladder do not need to suffer silently.

Definition, symptoms and causes
Overactive bladder is a problem with the control of bladder function. Sufferers feel an overwhelming, sudden urge to urinate caused by uncontrolled bladder contractions (urgency). In some cases, the feelings are accompanied by urine leakage, frequent urination and getting up at night to go to the bathroom. The combination of these symptoms is termed ‘overactive bladder’.

The condition is most often caused by the involuntary contractions of the bladder. In most cases, the cause is unknown but may be associated with age related changes in the nerves to the bladder. Patients with a known neurologic or chronic medical condition (stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s) are more likely to suffer from overactive bladder symptoms.

Relief in sight
“Most symptoms of overactive bladder are easily treated with behavioral changes and sometimes a low dose of medication. In the rare case that conservative treatments fail, our center offers state-of-the-art therapies, including surgery, electrical stimulation and even botulinum A toxin injections into the bladder. Our goal is to give women their lives back,” says Sangeeta Mahajan, M.D., Head of the Division of Urogynecology at UH MacDonald Women’s Hospital and Director of the Joint Fellowship in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery.

Your health care provider can help determine the best treatment for your overactive bladder. If your symptoms are interfering with daily life, don’t delay in seeking treatment. Medication and behavior changes can help your bladder function normally — and help you regain your lifestyle.

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