Our Houston area urologists treat a variety of conditions and illnesses

Overactive Bladder

Overactive bladder gives you that “gotta go” feeling

People who have overactive bladder, also known as OAB, feel frequent and sudden urges to urinate. They need to urinate often, day and night. Some people also leak urine involuntarily. OAB is a common problem, affecting approximately 30 percent of men and 40 percent of women, usually after age 65. Women may develop the problem earlier, around age 45.
OAB embarrasses men and women, often causing them to isolate themselves from friends, family, colleagues and activities. Our Houston urologists diagnose and treat patients with OAB, helping them improve their quality of life.

What causes OAB?

When someone has overactive bladder, the usual signals between the brain and bladder are not working correctly. Normally, brain signals alert a person that the bladder is getting full, but they can usually wait to urinate. When a person has OAB, they cannot wait. The signals aren’t working properly, so a person may feel that “gotta go” feeling even when the bladder isn’t full.

Many things can cause the bladder to be overactive.

Enlarged prostate in men
• Pregnancy and childbirth weakening the pelvic muscles
• Nerve damage from back or pelvic surgery
• Diseases that cause nerve damage, such as strokes, Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis
• Medications, caffeine and alcohol affecting brain signals, causing overflow in the bladder.
• Infections, such as urinary tract infections
• Being overweight

What are the symptoms of OAB?

The most obvious symptom of OAB is the sudden, frequent urge to urinate that can’t be controlled. People often urinate eight or more times in a 24-hour period, and many also wake up more than twice nightly to urinate, a condition known as nocturia. Some sufferers also experience urinary incontinence, or involuntary urine leakage.

How do our Houston urologists diagnose overactive bladder?

Our experienced physicians have a variety of methods for diagnosing a bladder that’s too active. First, they take a medical history, perform a physical examination and get a urine sample for a urinalysis.

Sometimes, patients need to keep a bladder diary, noting how often they urinate and whether they leak urine. Patients also keep track of how much fluid they consume, how much they urinate, how often they feel the urgent need to go, and when and how much urine leakage they experience. This record is a helpful tool for our physicians.

After these preliminary steps, our staff may recommend more tests, such as a bladder scan or urodynamic testing.

How do our physicians treat that “gotta go” feeling?

There are many ways to manage overactive bladder, including lifestyle changes, medications, non-surgical procedures and surgical treatments. Patients who have OAB shouldn’t assume that they have to live with this annoying condition. Our highly trained Houston urologists are here to help relieve their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Contact us for an appointment.