Did you know your bladder can hold up to 300 or 400 mL of urine? That’s more than a cup, but with normal bladder functioning, it can wait to be emptied. However, if you have an overactive bladder, you have to run to the bathroom more frequently. If you can’t make it in time, you may have to deal with losing control of your bladder.
Overactive Bladder Symptoms
The first symptom of an overactive bladder is frequency, meaning you need to empty your bladder alot – more than 8 times in 24 hours. The second symptom is urgency, meaning that it is difficult to wait to empty your bladder. You may feel that you have to get to the bathroom right now! The final symptom of an overactive bladder is urinary incontinence, which is when you can’t control your bladder and have an accident.
Many people mistakenly think that when you have an overactive bladder, you also have urinary incontinence. This is not the case – about 60% of people with overactive bladder do not have accidents.
Overactive Bladder Treatment
First, you should consult your doctor. Some people make the mistake of thinking that there is no help for an overactive bladder, but this is not true.
Your physician will ask questions about your urination habits, problems with urination, accidents, and other symptoms. Usually, the doctor will take a urine sample to make sure that there isn’t an infection or disease like diabetes present.
If it is an overactive bladder, the first treatment will often be pelvic floor rehabilitation. This means doing exercises that will train and strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, which surround the opening of the bladder and control urine flow. Once this area is strengthened, you’ll be able to hold more urine, and reduce accidents.
Your doctor will probably suggest that you reduce your fluids, especially caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea. He or she may also suggest making a note of urination habits, which can help determine a pattern or reason for the symptoms.
Along with these changes, most people with an overactive bladder will need what are called anticholinergic medications, which work on the nerves that control the bladder muscles. They reduce spasms and relax the muscles, which means the send of urgency is reduced. Fortunately, these medications are very effective, with few side effects.