Can Overactive Bladder Be Treated?

Here’s what you need to know about the bothersome condition and how it can be treated.

We hear the term “overactive bladder” everywhere these days, especially on TV commercials that choose to portray the human bladder as an animated character. For sufferers of OAB, however, the condition is anything but cute. We asked Judd Boczko, MD, a urologist at WestMed Medical Group in the White Plains, Rye, and New Rochelle to give us the lowdown on this annoying—and, often, incapacitating—condition.

 

Q: What, exactly, is overactive bladder?

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A: The term “overactive bladder” is defined as the combination of three factors: urinary urgency (an urge to urinate that is difficult to delay), urinary frequency (urinating more than eight times in 24 hours), and nocturia (the need to urinate at night).

 

Q: Who is most affected by overactive bladder?

A: The prevalence of OAB increases with age, and rates in men and women are similar. Symptoms of urinary urgency and frequency are similar between both sexes, but urgency incontinence is more prevalent in women than in men.

 

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Q: What percentage of the population suffers from overactive bladder?

A: Approximately 17 percent of adults over the age of 18 have OAB, but as many as 45 percent of women will have urinary incontinence in their lifetime.

 

Q: What can be done to treat overactive bladder?

A: There are a multitude of treatment options for OAB sufferers. For instance, conservative therapy-Kegel exercises work to decrease bladder irritants that come from alcohol, caffeine, green tea, spicy foods and dark chocolate. Medications are also readily available. These generally work to relax the bladder muscles to allow the bladder to expand more before the urge signal goes off. Nonsurgical options include Urgent PC, an office procedure where the doctor inserts a small needle near the ankle that’s hooked up to an electrical stimulator and sends impulses up the leg to the sacral nerves, disrupting the nerve signals that normally create the urge to urinate. Botox has also been shown to help with relaxing bladder muscles and reducing the urge to go. A surgical option is Interstim, or sacral nerve stimulation, during which a small device is permanently and surgically implanted in a patient’s bottom. The device automatically sends impulses to the sacral nerves, delaying signals to the brain that provide the urge to urinate.

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Dr. Judd Boczko was listed as one of Westchester Magazine’s 2013 Top Doctors. For more information on Dr. Boczko, please visit http://www.westmedgroup.com/provider.aspx?id=450&terms=Judd%20Boczko.

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