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(OAB) Over active bladder

  What is Overactive Bladder (OAB) / Urge Incontinence

Overactive Bladder  is a term used to simplify a complex number of urinary symptoms that lead people to believe that an overactive bladder is a disease in itself. That this is not the case, as there are normally a number of contributing factors resulting in the symptoms of an overactive bladder. This is why a combination of treatment strategies to alleviate your symptoms is sometimes recommended

An overactive bladder can have a devastating effect on a persons life: curtailing their social activities, feeling embarrassed and lonely, having to cancel or limit social actives for fear of being wet in public, feeling that they can never be far away from a toilet. Suffers may also feel tired due to having to wake up a number of times through the night to go to toilet.

But you don’t have to suffer in silence or allow overactive bladder symptoms to control your life. There are many available treatments to help. If youare suffering please see your healthcare professional.


What are the symptom of Overactive Bladder

Urgency-The major symptom of Overactive Bladder is a sudden, uncontrollable, strong urge to urinate that you are unable to delay. This urge may or may not cause your leak urine.

Urgency Incontinence – The sudden involuntary urge for the need urinate resulting in leakage of urine.

Frequency – You may also feel you need to go to the toilet many times during the day sometimes passing very little urine. Everyone is different in how many times they need to visit the toilet. But generally if it is over 7 times during a day it would be excessive.

Nocturia – the need to wake more than once to go to the toilet.


What causes Overactive Bladder

Overactive bladder can happen when nerve signals between your bladder and brain become disrupted resulting in false signals being sent telling your bladder to empty, even when it isn’t full. This results in your your bladder muscles “contracting” to pass urine before they should. These contractions cause the sudden, strong urge to urinate.


How many people are affected by an Overactive Bladder

Overactive Bladder can affect both men and women. Recent studies indicate that 1 in 6 (17%) of the adult population experience symptoms of an Overactive Bladder and about 1in 3 (33%) of people with an overactive bladder will also suffer from urge incontinence


Are there treatments for Overactive Bladder

Yes. There are many treatments that can help you manage Overactive Bladder. These may be used on there own or in conjunction with other forms of treatment.

Treatment choices include:

Lifestyle changes: Keep a Bladder Diary to record your trips to the toilet. See if by changing
 what you eat and drink you can will reduce your symptoms. Caffeine and alcohol are both diuretics (will increase urine production) and they may also stimulate the bladder making the symptoms worse.

Fluid Intake-Drink at least 2 liters of fluid per day. Cutting back on fluid intake may make the symptoms worse as the bladder walls may become irritated resulting in contractions. Low fluid intake may also increase the risk of urinary tract infections.

Bladder Retraining- A set of bladder exercises designed to slowly stretch the bladder so that over a period of time its capacity increases allowing the bladder to store more urine. Eventually, this results in longer periods of time passing before the need to urinate and the likelihood of leakage should also be reduced. The continence nurses working closely with your urologist will design a program for your needs.


Prescription drugs:

Medications for overactive bladder work by dampening down the nerve impulses to the bladder that cause it to contract and leak.


Botox Injections

Botox can be injected into the bladder muscle to treat an overactive bladder. Botox blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles. The injected muscle can no longer contract therefore the urgent and frequent need to urinate may be eliminated.



Acupuncture has traditionally been utilized to treat a variety of urinary bladder dysfunctions and symptoms.



If conventional non-invasive treatments fail then there are a number of surgical options available.


The main types of surgery for stress incontinence are:

Urethral bulking implants


Bladder neck suspension

Vaginal Sling

TVT Tension free vaginal tape

Artificial urinary sphincter

Clam cystoplasty

Male Sling


Mitrofanoff procedure


The information contained within this website has been provided as a general guide and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own GP or any other health professional.



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