Why You Should Not Ignore Signs or Symptoms of an Overactive Bladder
Bladder control is something everyone learns as children during potty training, and then forgets about for the majority of our lives. When we feel the urge, we go to the bathroom and empty our bladder. Normal frequency is anywhere from 4 to 10 times a day, depending on how much fluid one drinks.
A few people, mostly women, may feel a sudden or overwhelming urge to urinate urgently or more frequently. This can also cause slight incontinence. Simply wearing bladder control pads or adult diapers to capture leaking urine to get through a meeting, wait in traffic or other situation is not enough. A doctor needs to be made aware of the problem as soon as possible.
Potential Medical Problems
A doctor will take the patient’s history as well as write down all the symptoms being experienced. It is important to describe the urges as well as any incontinence as clearly as possible. Making a list of questions to answer while waiting for the appointment can help the doctor determine what tests are needed.
- Are there certain times of the day that the urges happen more frequently?
- How many times during the night is the need to urinate hitting?
- Is there any burning or pain with the urination?
- Has the problem been happening with increasing frequency?
- How long has the problem been going on?
- Is there also a problem with bowel control?
All of these questions will help the doctor determine what is happening. Needing to frequently empty one’s bladder is not a normal part of aging. Sometimes, an overactive bladder is a symptom of a much larger medical issue. Examples can include urinary tract infection, bladder stones or neurological disorders. Certain medications and caffeine consumption can also cause the problem to occur.
Untreated, overactive bladder problems can increase the chances of stress, sleep disorders, depression and possibly injuries from falling on the way to the bathroom at night for elderly sufferers. Any or all of these can have adverse effects on the patient’s personal life. A person can become withdrawn from social life for fear of having an accident in front of others. Work and family life may suffer as a result as well.
The patient’s doctor will first discuss the results of an examination and any laboratory testing performed. When the underlying problem is identified, treatments will be discussed with the patient. Depending on the cause, the treatment could range from simple medication, exercises or surgery.
Facing the problem and getting treatment will allow the person to resume a normal lifestyle without worries about bladder control accidents.