• Overactive bladder is a syndrome (set of symptoms) that is thought to be due to the muscle’s sudden contractions in the wall of the bladder.
• Overactive bladder can also result in urinary incontinence, otherwise termed urgency urinary incontinence (wet OAB).
• Overactive bladder is not a normal part of aging, but the risk of developing OAB increases with age.
• OAB affects both men and women and can significantly impact the quality of life.
• Many treatments are available for overactive bladder, including pelvic-muscle strengthening, behavioral therapies, medications, neuromodulation, and surgery.
Overactive bladder (OAB) is a condition that is characterized by sudden, involuntary contraction of the muscle in the wall of the urinary bladder. This results in an immediate, compelling need to urinate challenging to suppress (urinary urgency), even though the bladder may only contain a small amount of urine. The key symptom is sudden urge to void (urgency) with or without urgency urinary incontinence, often associated with urinary frequency (voiding eight or more times per day) and nocturia (awakening one or more times at night to void). Irritating fluids, such as caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea), spicy foods, and alcohol, can worsen the symptoms. It is common for those affected to compensate for OAB by toilet mapping, fluid restriction, and timed voiding.
There is no pain, burning, or blood in the urine with OAB.
Overactive bladder, coupled with urinary leakage (inability to suppress the urge to void), is also referred to as urgency urinary incontinence.
Another common type of urinary incontinence is stress incontinence, which is caused by weakness in the pelvic floor muscles that surround and support the bladder and urethra. The symptom of stress incontinence is leakage when coughing, straining, jumping or other physical activity that increases the abdomen (Valsalva).
Treatment for stress incontinence is very different than urge incontinence. In some individuals, there can be a combination of urge and stress incontinence (mixed incontinence). Often, the most bothersome condition is treated first in individuals with mixed urinary incontinence. In general, urinary incontinence is more common in women compared to men.
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