Overactive bladder is known as a urinary disorder, and it can affect anybody. It usually comes with a set of common symptoms, which include frequent nighttime urination, frequent urge to urinate, urine leakage or incontinence, and frequent urination.
Research has estimated that about 33 million Americans are suffering from overactive bladder, and over 30% of them are faced with symptoms.
Other research suggests that it is likely that a more significant number of men are having this condition but find it hard to seek help.
If you feel like you have overactive bladder due to some symptoms you may have noticed, ensure that you speak to your healthcare provider as there are a lot of treatments that could help with this condition.
Symptoms of overactive bladder
There are a number of symptoms that are linked with overactive bladder, and you might be faced with either one or all of them at once.
These are some of the common symptoms of overactive bladder;
This is a situation where you are not able to reschedule your need to urinate to a later time. When the urge to urinate comes, you are often faced with a limited time to get to the bathroom before the urine comes out.
Frequency of urination
People who have overactive bladder often feel the need to urinate almost every time. This symptom is typically having an increased number of the times you urinate in comparison to what you usually experience.
This symptom usually involves leakage of urine. When you have the urge to urinate, there might be some leakage of urine even before you get to a bathroom.
This is a symptom that has to do with getting up to urinate at night to urinate at least two times.
All these symptoms of overactive bladder can impact any aspect of your life. Most people find it embarrassing to talk about these symptoms, which is why they don’t usually seek out help from a medical professional to provide them with solutions to their symptoms.
Fortunately, these symptoms can be resolved in more than one promising way.
Overactive bladder and your prostate
In most cases, men often have overactive bladder because of the enlargement of their prostate gland. As men get older, the prostate gland tends to get larger. This enlargement could create a blockage to the flow of urine, and result in symptoms of overactive bladder.
A lot of research has shown that about 50% usually notice symptoms of an enlarged prostate when they are about 60 years and older. And this number increases to about 90% when they get to 85 years of age.
While the enlargement of the prostate gland is the leading factor that causes an overactive bladder, there are still a lot of other factors that could lead to these symptoms.
These are some of the other causes of overactive bladder in men;
If you are overweight, it could lead to extra pressure on your bladder. This, in turn, would result in urge incontinence.
If you have an infection like a UTI in your bladder, bladder cancer, or bladder stones, these could cause an irritation of the bladder nerves and lead to an impromptu squeezing of the bladder.
Medication, caffeine, and alcohol
The excessive use of any of these products could be detrimental to the nerves that are responsible for sending signals to the brain. This might cause an overflow of the bladder.
Caffeine and diuretics could make your bladder get filled up fast, and in some cases, it could cause leakage.
The nerves that are responsible for sending signals to the brain and bladder could be damaged, which would cause them to send signals to empty the bladder at wrong intervals.
Certain diseases and trauma can cause this. Some of the factors that could cause nerve damage include herniated disc, radiation, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and back or pelvic surgery.
Some temporary factors could cause you to experience symptoms of overactive bladder. These factors include excessive intake of fluids or being constipated.
How overactive bladder is diagnosed
If you feel that you may have overactive bladder due to the appearance of some or all of the symptoms, visit your healthcare provider as they could give you a thorough physical exam.
Your doctor will also run some tests on your urine to check if there are any signs of stones or an infection. Another procedure your healthcare provider may carry out is to give you a series of tests that help to check whether your bladder is functioning properly or not.
These tests include checking the amount of urine that is left in your bladder after you must have urinated, measuring the pressure around and in your bladder, and checking the rate of flow when you urinate.
When the test results are in, your doctor would then make a diagnosis and would be able to give you a variety of treatment options.
Lifestyle changes to treat overactive bladder
After a diagnosis of overactive bladder, your healthcare provider would recommend that you make some changes to your lifestyle.
These are some of the ways you can improve your lifestyle;
There are some drinks and foods that when you incorporate them into your diet plans, they could worsen your symptoms of overactive bladder. When these drinks and foods are eliminated from your diet, it will make you respond better to the treatment of this condition.
Research has also found out that if you reduce your intake of alcohol and caffeine. These substances are diuretics, which means that they could cause your body to make more urine. This would also increase your need to urinate.
While undergoing treatment for overactive bladder, you should also limit your intake of things like aspartame and artificial sweeteners, carbonated beverages, and cranberry juice.
In addition to cutting down on some drinks and foods, you should also limit your intake of liquids before bed, so that you can resolve your nighttime symptoms.
Also, if you have been diagnosed with overactive bladder, you should limit your intake of acidic and spicy foods like tomato sauce and orange juice as this they could irritate the urethra and bladder, which would worsen your symptoms.
If you have overactive bladder, it is essential to note that you should always take sufficient amounts of water. A procedure that does not help with symptoms of overactive bladder is trying to reduce your intake of water to limit your production of urine.
If you reduce your fluid intake, it could lead to dehydration and concentrated urine. Concentrated urine could irritate your bladder, which would worsen symptoms of overactive bladder.
If you are a smoker, you should eliminate or reduce smoking, as this is vital for your bladder health.
Research has shown that doing pelvic floor exercises can be effective for some people with overactive bladder. While carrying out these exercises, you are working the muscles you use to urinate by tightening, holding, and releasing them.
If you want to find the right muscles, you can practice this exercise after urinating as your memory is still fresh to remember the muscles that are responsible for controlling urination.
It would be best if you practiced these exercises when you are sure that your bladder is empty so that there will be no accidents or leaks.
After diagnosis, your doctor would also recommend bladder training to help with symptoms such as frequent urination. Usually, when the bladder contracts, you will get the urge to urinate.
But, in people that have overactive bladder, the bladder contracts before it gets full, which would result in a frequent need to urinate.
Bladder training involves training your bladder to get filled up by resisting the urge to urinate. This is usually a gradual process.
You will typically start by resisting the urge for some minutes. As time goes on, you will then be able to resist the urge for about an hour or more.
Being overweight is a significant risk factor for overactive bladder. This is because the excess weight would put more pressure on your urethra and bladder, which would worsen the symptoms.
Opting to lose significant body weight would help with your symptoms of overactive bladder. As your weight reduces, so will the pressure that is put on your urinary tract and bladder.
For overweight people that have overactive bladder, losing weight is usually the first-line treatment.
There are available medical treatment options for men with overactive bladder. If the enlargement of the prostate gland causes your overactive bladder, you will be asked to take alpha-blockers.
What these alpha-blockers do is to relax the nearby muscles and enhance urine flow through the urethra. Your healthcare provider might also prescribe a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. This is effective when it comes to the reduction of the prostate.
You can also take drugs that could decrease spasms in your bladder, or limit your urge to urinate. The drugs that help with this are antimuscarinics and anticholinergics.