Frequent trips to the toilet, urinary incontinence, a constant feeling of fullness in the bladder are problems with which it is not customary to see a doctor. And it’s completely in vain, because such problems are correctable, but without proper treatment they can rapidly worsen and lead to rather serious consequences. An overactive bladder is a prime example of this. Such a diagnosis significantly reduces a person’s quality of life, restricting his freedom of movement and creating significant discomfort.
Overactive bladder: when to sound the alarm?
An overactive bladder (OAB) is a complex of functional disorders of this organ. With the development of this pathology, a person constantly experiences an irresistible urge to urinate, which ultimately leads to urinary incontinence. A healthy bladder is emptied only when its entire volume is filled with fluid. The urge to urinate is supplied by the brain. The more full the bladder is, the stronger the urge. With OAB, this mechanism of interaction between the brain and the organ of the urinary system is disrupted, and a person feels the desire to go to the toilet even with a partially filled bladder.
Only a doctor can diagnose an overactive bladder. But the main thing is to determine the symptoms of the disease in time and immediately consult a specialist. So, the main signs of this pathology are:
- the need to go to the toilet for minor needs, arising at least 8 times during the day and more than 2 times at night;
- sudden urge to urinate, in which it is not always possible to reach the toilet;
- a constant feeling of fullness in the bladder, which does not go away even after using the toilet;
- urinary incontinence, which occurs when laughing, lifting weights and other sudden movements, accompanied by tension of the abdominal muscles.
The causes of bladder dysfunctions can be different. In particular, these include some neurological and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. The development of OAB can be caused by hormonal and age-related disorders, obesity, excessive consumption of fatty and salty foods, carbonated and caffeinated drinks, alcohol, as well as occasional intake of diuretics.
In the diagnosis of an overactive bladder, the patient’s keeping a diary plays a huge role, in which he must note not only his trips to the toilet, but also incontinence episodes, diet, meal times, the amount of fluid drunk, etc. , allowing to determine the cause of violations and build the most effective tactics for their elimination. Treatment of overactive bladder should be comprehensive, that is, aimed at eliminating not only the problem itself, but also the causes of its occurrence. In addition to drug treatment for OAB, other methods are of great importance. Which ones, we will consider below in the article.
Behavioral Therapy and Habit Change
Correcting your own behavior is one of the main methods of dealing with bladder hyperactivity. People with this disorder develop a special pattern of behavior. They literally become dependent on the toilet, cannot plan long trips, walks, and always run to the bathroom before leaving the house. The elimination of such behavioral features should be performed by the patient independently. This will help to regain lost control of urination and guide the frequency of toilet visits.
Patients with OAB are advised to schedule bathroom visits. In this case, it is necessary to gradually increase the time intervals between urination. This approach is excellent bladder workout and will help a person control one of the basic physiological processes in their body.
Kegel Exercises to Train Your Bladder
No less important in eliminating the symptoms of OAB is special physiotherapy exercises. The exercises recommended for patients are aimed at strengthening the pelvic floor muscles and restoring elasticity to the walls of the bladder. In this regard, Kegel’s intimate gymnastics has proven itself well, which can be used not only for therapeutic, but also for prophylactic purposes. Correct performance of special exercises can eliminate various dysfunctions of the bladder. Among the most popular and effective exercises, it is worth noting:
- Slowly squeezing the pelvic muscles, for about three seconds, and gradually relaxing them;
- fast muscle tension and relaxation;
- pushing, providing tension of the muscles of the perineum and peritoneum.
It is necessary to start such training gradually. To begin with, an alternation of ten slow muscle contractions per day is enough, the same number of quick contractions, as well as five expulsions. Weekly, you need to increase the number of exercises performed by five times. The maximum amount is 30 repetitions of each exercise daily.
Avoiding foods that irritate the bladder
Nutrition is also very important in the treatment of overactive bladder. There are a number of products that irritate the walls of the main organ of the urinary system and contribute to the appearance of frequent urge to urinate. So, for the duration of treatment, you should stop using:
- citrus fruits and pineapples, as well as juices made from them;
- chocolate containing one of the main irritants for the bladder – caffeine;
- sugar-containing foods and even honey;
- spicy food that irritates the mucous membrane of the organ;
- tomatoes and other sour vegetables and fruits;
- dairy and fermented milk products, etc.
The body’s response to certain foods may differ from person to person. Therefore, you need to listen to your feelings, and based on the results, adjust your diet.
The amount and quality of fluid you drink per day
With an overactive bladder, it is important for patients to follow the correct drinking regimen. You cannot limit yourself to drinking with the hope that the urge to urinate in this case will become more rare. With a lack of fluid, urine becomes more concentrated and irritates the mucous membrane of the organ, which, contrary to expectations, increases the frequency of visits to the toilet. In addition to controlling the amount of fluid you receive, it is also important to eliminate drinks from your daily diet, which can also irritate the bladder. These include:
- coffee and black tea, which stimulate the bladder and have a diuretic effect;
- alcohol, which relaxes the muscles, prevents the brain from supplying impulses to urinate in a timely manner, as well as dehydrating the body;
- Energy drinks that are high in caffeine
- carbonated drinks containing carbon dioxide and caffeine, which may be present in their composition.
Urinary incontinence and excess weight
Maintaining a normal body weight is one of the main conditions for the prevention of various health problems. Studies have shown that weight loss by 5-10% when overweight can help reduce symptoms of overactive bladder. That is why patients with OAB who are overweight need to make every effort to combat it. This will help improve treatment outcomes and relieve pressure from the bladder.
New and interesting in the treatment of overactive bladder
Recent studies have shown that botox may be one of the effective treatments for overactive bladder . The drug, which was previously used mainly to solve cosmetological problems, is now gaining an ever wider scope of its use. It is assumed that in order to obtain the desired effect in the treatment of OAB, it is necessary to inject the drug directly into the tissue of the bladder. This method, according to scientists, is most relevant for people with dysfunctions of the bladder, which have arisen due to back injuries and against the background of multiple sclerosis. Studies have shown that just one Botox injection can relax the bladder and eliminate OAB symptoms for about 9 months. This method of treating disorders of the urinary system is still in the process of testing and has not received official use.