Overactive bladder is a debilitating condition that leaves sufferers with a frequent urgency to pee, sometimes with urinary incontinence involved. It causes embarrassment and negative effects on the social life of the person with the condition, but having the condition doesn’t mean your social life is over. Here, consultant urologist, Mr Ranjan Thilagarajah continues from his first article giving an overview of overactive bladder, and explains the different ways of managing the condition.
For an in depth look at all of the treatment options available for overactive bladder, including drug therapies, and surgical options, click here
Lifestyle and behavioural therapies to help manage an overactive bladder
The first step in treating an overactive bladder is the daily management of the condition. This can be done by:
Absorbent productsMillions of adults use absorbent products in the day-to-day management of their condition. Pads, shields, and adult absorbent underwear help with the management of possible leakage. Though the products are not a cure, the benefit is that the patient can buy them over the counter, and doesn’t need to discuss the condition with anyone.
Behavioural modificationTraining your bladder with scheduled toilet visits is a non-invasive approach to the condition. This treatment focuses on awareness of the urinary tract, aiming to develop bladder control. Dietary changes such as a limit on specific foods and drinks, especially caffeine, alcohol and sugary drinks help with the managing of the condition.
Pelvic exercises and biofeedbackKegel exercises to help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, to help support the bladder and decrease urgency to pee. If you can stop yourself peeing midstream, then you have found the correct muscles. Squeezing these and releasing them helps to build up the strength.
Biofeedback is the introduction of a probe or electrode to help in identifying the pelvic floor muscles. When the correct muscle is contracted, the machine gives a signal.
The success of these management exercises and techniques is that the patient must be dedicated to the lifestyle and behavioural changes, and must persevere. Even having said that, these techniques are not always successful in altering the underlying overactive bladder condition.
If these are unsuccessful, then an appointment with your consultant urologist will be able to help you in the next stage of the treatment of the condition, with the introduction of drug therapies and surgical treatments.