Do you know where all the bathrooms are in the mall?

Do you plan ahead what and how much fluid you drink in order to prevent accidents?

Do you visit bathrooms frequently? And maybe sometimes you don’t make it to the bathroom?

Do you have to rush to the bathroom the moment your hand touches the handle of your front door?

Well, if any of these situations sound familiar, you might be suffering from overactive bladder.

What is overactive bladder (OAB)? It is the name of a group of urinary symptoms, such as urinary urgency, urinary frequency, getting up at night to urinate, and/or uncontrolled leakage of urine associated with the urge to void.

Why does OAB happen? Normally, when the bladder is in the filling stage, the bladder wall muscles are relaxed, and the urinary sphincter muscles are contracted. This provides accumulation and storage of urine and prevents urine from leaking out. When the urine in the bladder reaches a certain amount, the bladder wall muscles start to contract to let our brain know that it’s time to use the bathroom. Eventually, when we get to a safe place to void, the muscles of the bladder wall will contract and the sphincter muscles will relax, allowing urine to pass.

When this system does not work properly, and the bladder muscles are too active, it gives you the feeling of “urgency” more often, and sometimes, the urge is so strong that it’s associated with uncontrollable leakage of urine.

What causes OAB? OAB can develop due to different reasons, such as hormonal  changes, urinary tract infections, neurologic disorders (stroke, multiple sclerosis), side effects of medications, etc. OAB frequently develops as people age, however, many young adults also suffer from this. 

OAB affects more women than men, but not everyone is actually searching for help due to the associated stigmas, feeling of shame, and belief that OAB is a normal part of aging.

If you want to improve the quality of your life and live the life you deserve, learn about simple ways to control OAB symptoms in my next post.

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