Overactive Bladder Treatment
Overactive bladder, or OAB, affects one out of five Americans over the age of 40 and one out of three over the age of 65. More common in women than men, overactive bladder is a sensitive condition that many people are embarrassed to address. Yet, it is a condition that you shouldn’t accept because it can be successfully treated.
In fact, overactive bladder is curable. Yet more than 75 percent of people with overactive bladder syndrome stop taking medications, due to side effects, costs, or ineffectiveness, and don’t seek additional treatment.
At Foothills Urology, we understand your sensitivity about overactive bladder and treat you with dignity and compassion. Every patient is seen only by one of our four fellowship-trained urologists, who works with you throughout your treatment. Because we offer all available treatments for overactive bladder and urinary incontinence, we can create a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
Evaluating Overactive Bladder
When you become a patient at Foothills Urology, we will start by seeking to understand you and your needs. In cases of overactive bladder, we will conduct a thorough exam, take a health history, and perform a cystoscopy, a test that allows us to look at the inside of your bladder and urethra to identify any obstructions, such as bladder stones, that might be causing your symptoms. We also may conduct urodynamic testing to assess the ability of the urethra, sphincters, and bladder to release and store urine. We may give you homework to track voiding habits. Armed with all of this information, we will then formulate a treatment plan that we will discuss with you to ensure you understand and are comfortable with the approach to care.
Overactive bladder and urinary incontinence treatment is based on your bladder function and the underlying causes of your overactive bladder symptoms.
Watch a video about Interstim therapy, a type of sacral nerve stimulation performed by Foothills Urologist Dr. David Cahn to help control the symptoms of overactive bladder.
Treating Overactive Bladder
In most cases, we will start treatment for overactive bladder conditions with conservative measures. If medications have not helped, we will consider other conservative overactive bladder treatments before moving to more aggressive treatments.
Overactive bladder treatments include:
- Overactive bladder medications – Anticholinergic drugs like darifenacin and festerodine help control unintended bladder muscle contractions by blocking the nerve signals responsible for the contractions. Tricyclic antidepressant imipramine hydrochloride and beta-3 adrenergic agonists can also be effective in relaxing bladder muscles.
- Behavioral therapy – Many patients benefit from lifestyle and diet changes including avoiding caffeine, refraining from drinking before bedtime, losing weight, and scheduled voiding.
- Physical therapy – Pelvic floor exercises (Kegels), pelvic floor training, and other forms of physical therapy can strengthen and retrain muscles.
- In-office percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS) – Using a small, thin electrode, percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation is a form of neuromodulation that stimulates the nerves in the pelvis, resulting in improved bladder control.
- Botox® – Performed in office, Botox injections into the bladder can relax the bladder, resulting in fewer contractions and improved bladder capacity.
- Sling procedures – Women with stress incontinence, which results when activities like coughing or running cause urine leakage, may benefit from slings that support the urethra and keep it closed.
- Sacral nerve stimulation – Sacral nerve stimulation uses a pacemaker-like device to stimulate the nerves that control the bladder. Nerve stimulation can control the symptoms of overactive bladder. Foothills Urology uses the InterStim® system developed by Medtronic.