Overactive bladder is a problem with bladder-storage function that causes a sudden urge to urinate. The urge may be difficult to stop, and overactive bladder may lead to the involuntary loss of urine (incontinence). Symptoms are feeling embarrassed, isolate yourself, or limit your work and social life. The good news is that a brief evaluation can determine whether there's a specific cause for overactive bladder symptoms. Overactive bladder is a condition that affects millions of people globally and yet, for many of those suffering from it, the symptoms can make them feel incredibly alone. The result is often a powerful feeling of isolation and shame. It’s a condition that can be difficult to talk about, and which leads to social withdrawal. The anxiety that OAB causes can in turn lead to further problems, both psychological and physical. “People who have overactive bladder have higher levels of depression,” Says Dr. Herschorn. “They have more time off work. And they have other chronic illnesses. Overall they are a sicker group of patients.”
Behavioral interventions are the first choice in helping manage an overactive bladder. They're often effective, and they carry no side effects. Medications that relax the bladder can be helpful for relieving symptoms of overactive bladder and reducing episodes of urge incontinence. Clinical research shows that it may be useful for severe urge incontinence. But it's not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for this purpose in people without neurological disease. The effects are temporary, lasting only about six to nine months. Surgery to treat overactive bladder is reserved for people with severe symptoms who don't respond to other treatments. The goal is to improve the bladder's storing ability and reduce pressure in the bladder. However, these procedures won't help relieve bladder pain.