Living and Wellness Talk to Your Doctor: Overactive Bladder By Urology, August 24, 2014 In the United States, 20 to 30 million Americans suffer from overactive bladder (OAB), which is one type of urinary incontinence. Although OAB can affect anyone of any age, it is not a normal part of getting older. A lot of patients are too embarrassed to talk about their symptoms with their families and even their doctors, so it often goes untreated. Here are a few facts to keep in mind if you think you may be suffering from overactive bladder. Overactive Bladder Symptoms Overactive bladder is a frequent, sudden urge to urinate—seen either with or without urinary incontinence. Typical symptoms of overactive bladder include: Difficult to control urge to urinate Involuntary loss of urine associated with urgency Urinating eight or more times a day Waking up two or more times during the night to urinate Overactive Bladder Causes There are many possible causes of overactive bladder. Even though age alone is not a contributing factor of OAB, there are several other things that could lead to an increased urge to go, including: Significant caffeine use (coffee, tea, colas) or significant alcohol consumption Certain medications Infections Nerve damage Previous pelvic or vaginal surgeries Weak pelvic muscles Weight Treating Overactive Bladder Overactive bladder is a treatable condition. There are a number of treatment options for overactive bladder that your doctor can suggest for overactive bladder. Management can be achieved through: Behavioral modifications Pelvic muscle physical therapy Medications Bladder injections with BOTOX® Nerve stimulation Preventing Overactive Bladder You can reduce your risk of overactive bladder. Practicing healthy habits can help prevent OAB. To reduce your risk, it is suggested that you: Do not smoke Exercise daily Limit caffeine and alcohol Practice pelvic strengthening exercises If you are experiencing symptoms, or think you may be at risk of developing overactive bladder, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor. Your health care provider can work with you to find prevention or treatment methods that best fit your needs. To learn more about urinary incontinence issues or to schedule an appointment, please visit the Department of Urology at UPMC website or call 412-692-4100.