Overactive bladder refers to the medical condition characterized by the presence of symptoms such as frequent urination, nocturia and urinary urgency, with or without urinary incontinence. The condition mainly results due to urinary tract infections, presence of bladder stones and/or tumors or due to the abnormalities of the nervous system resulting from spinal cord injury, diabetic neuropathy, Parkinson’s diseases, multiple sclerosis, stroke or dementia.
The symptoms basically arise due to the abnormal contractions of the detrusor muscles, one of the major muscle groups of the urinary bladder, irrespective of the amount of urine being held in the bladder. Though the condition is more common in the elderly, overactive bladder rarely results due to ageing and may affect an individual from any age group.
For effective treatment, it is important to treat the underlying conditions responsible for an Overactive bladder and incorporate certain healthy habits and lifestyle changes. A surgical intervention might be necessary for more severe cases.
Natural Treatments For Overactive Bladder
Pelvic floor exercises or kegel exercises are quite effective in strengthening the muscles of the urinary bladder. These exercises are performed in sets and involve tightening, holding and relaxing the muscles to improve the voluntary start and stop of urine flow.
Electrical Stimulation Of Pelvic Floor Muscles
The procedure involves sending small electrical pulses to the muscles of the urinary bladder through the electrodes placed in the rectum or vagina.
This is the least invasive and simplest way to treat an overactive bladder. The procedure involves practicing bladder control by holding the urine way past the urge to urinate. By practicing scheduled voiding instead of urinating whenever you feel the urge, you learn to control the urge and improve bladder control.
Avoiding Caffeinated Or Alcoholic Beverages
Caffeinated drinks and alcoholic beverages have diuretic effects on the body. They increase the rate of urination and in individuals with an overactive bladder they may result in a sudden, involuntary urge to urinate.
Avoid having water and other fluids before going to bed. You should also restrict your fluid intake before activities or social gatherings.
Use Of Medication
Use Of Anticholinergic Drugs
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The anticholinergic drugs such as darifenacin, oxybutynin, trospium, fesoterodine, solifenacin and tolterodine have been found to be quite effective in improving bladder capacity and reducing the urge to urinate. They work by blocking the nerve signals that induce abnormal contractions in the urinary bladder. However, they can result in constipation and some serious side-effects such as blurred vision and increased heartbeat.
Use Of Tricyclic Antidepressants
Tricyclic antidepressants such as imipramine hydrochloride have also been found to be quite effective in treating overactive bladders.
Use Of Estrogen And Blood Pressure Medication
Though the efficacy of this line of treatment is yet to be proven, there has been some success in treating overactive bladders in women with the use of estrogen and in men with the use of blood pressure medication, known as alpha-blockers.
Use Of Capsaicin
Capsaicin and resiniferatoxin work by controlling the nerve impulses to reduce the incidents of abnormal contractions of the urinary bladder, thereby controlling the symptoms of an overactive bladder.
Use of botulinum toxin
Injecting botulinum toxin A into the walls of the urinary bladder can effectively block the nerve signals and prevent involuntary contractions of the bladder.
Surgery is usually performed as a last resort when other treatment options fail to provide desired results. The procedure involves enlargement of the bladder with the use of bowel tissues to increase the urine carrying capacity of the urinary bladder. At times, an electrical device may also be implanted under the skin to send electrical signals to the sacral nerves that control the contraction and relaxation of the urinary bladder.
Overactive bladder in an individual can have a major impact on his/her social and professional life, often triggering at the most inopportune moments and resulting in embarrassing situations. However treatment through exercises, lifestyle modification and/or medication can help in managing your symptoms in a better way and restoring your confidence.
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