What is Overactive Bladder (OAB)?
Overactive bladder (OAB) is a medical condition that results in an uncontrollable urge to pass urine and frequent need to urinate both during the daytime and night-time. It may also be associated with urine leakage and not getting to the bathroom in time because of an overwhelming urge, also know as urge incontinence.
OAB’s impact on quality of life:
OAB can greatly affect quality of life emotionally, socially, physically and financially. People find their lives revolving around the toilet and they plan their day around getting to a bathroom. Some people avoid social situations due to fear of leaking, smell and embarrassment.
Others rarely leave the house and become a “bladder hermit”. Suffers often feel tired all the time because they are waking up too many times during the night to go to the bathroom and not getting enough rest. They are unable to enjoy a normal diet because they have to limit both foods and liquids so they do not trigger a bladder spasm. Financially, the costs of pads and bladder medications can add up to a significant amount. All these add up to a sense of loss of control over the bladder and eventually, one’s life.
Questions to ask yourself if you have OAB:
- Do you have a sudden need to rush to the bathroom to urinate?
- Is this caused by hand washing or turning the key in the door?
- Have you not made it to the bathroom fast enough and leaked urine?
- How often do you pass urine during the day?
- Do you always have to know where the bathroom is when you are out of the house?
- During the night, how many times do you get up to urinate? Is it your bladder which wakes you up?
What causes OAB?
Most commonly, there is no known cause for OAB. Some cases are related to a neurological cause such as Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis or stroke. OAB can also happen as a result of a blockage f the bladder outlet such as prostatic obstruction in men.