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Overactive Bladder in Women (OAB) – “Gotta Go?”

If you’ve ever experienced that “gotta go” feeling or extreme urge to urinate, you may have an overactive bladder. This overwhelming urge is one of the main signs that you may be living with overactive bladder (OAB). Overactive bladder is a chronic condition that cannot be “cured.” The symptoms of OAB, however, can be successfully managed.

OAB is a group of urinary symptoms such as an uncontrollable urge to urinate or urine leakage caused by this frequent urge.

In OAB, urine leaks when your bladder inappropriately contracts or squeezes even when your bladder is not full. This causes the sudden urge to urinate or that “gotta go” feeling, and it can happen frequently throughout the day and even at night time during sleep.

A normal bladder (left) vs. an overactive bladder with urine leakage (right).

 

What Causes OAB?

Overactive bladder typically occurs when nerve signals between your bladder and your brain tell your bladder to empty even when it is not full and the bladder and pelvic floor muscles are not in coordination. OAB can also occur when the muscles in your bladder are too active or contract when they are not meant to, creating that sudden and strong urge to urinate. This is called “urgency.”

Common Causes of OAB Symptoms

  • Increasing age
  • Back issues/surgery
  • Obesity and being overweight
  • Neurological conditions that affect the brain and spine including diabetes, multiple sclerosis,  Parkinson’s disease, stroke, cerebral palsy and spinal cord injury
  • Bladder tumors, stones and infections
  • Certain medications such as diuretics, sedatives, and antidepressants
  • Certain foods such as caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods worsen symptoms

 

Help for women living with the symptoms of OAB is at Colorado Urology.

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