Problems Associated with an Overactive Bladder (OAB)
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Problems Associated with an Overactive Bladder (OAB)

An Overactive Bladder (OAB) can affect a woman's emotional and physical lifestyles in many ways. Coping with OAB is a lifelong proposition that require medication and emotional support therapies.

One out of every four women over the age of 18 has an overactive bladder problem. One out of every four women experience bouts of involuntary passing of urine. Their pipes leak from time to time, but the majority of the young women with bladder control problems never talks about those issues, not even with their doctors. If they are asked if they have a problem with OAB, they will deny it vehemently.

OAB is an emotional challenge.

The average woman waits six years from the first signs of an OAB problem to the time she goes to a doctor about it. During those six years, she undergoes extreme emotional distress, their whole lifestyle changes. They become withdrawn and stop socializing outside their home. They stop doing many of the things they always enjoyed doing—going to the movies, going dancing, going on picnics, attending church, etc.

The emotional stress suffered by OAB sufferers can, and often does affect the sufferer’s physical health as well. Women stop going for walks or playing sports. Their lives become sedentary, and they start putting on weight. Suffering from OAB can also affect your work life too. Consider the emotional and physical strain it places on a school teacher who must stand in front of her class for an hour at a time without getting a bathroom break. Unlike her students, she cannot raise her hand and ask permission to go to the bathroom.

An Overactive Bladder can disrupt your sleep.

Few women with OAB get a good night’s rest because of a condition known as Nocturia. Nocturia requires a woman to make two, three, or more trips to the bathroom every night. Many times, those women suffering from nocturia do not even make it to the bathroom before they start to leak urine. The loss of sleep, sleep deprivation, often leads to bouts of depression.

An Overactive Bladder can affect a woman’s sex life.

Having sexual intercourse can become very stressful for the OAB sufferer. Quite often they will lose control during coitus and void their bladder on their partner, which does not promote intimacy. Women with OAB quite often find themselves feeling unattractive and undesirable.

The diagnosis and prognosis for OAB.

Once the woman talks about her problem with her doctor, the diagnosis is an easy one and OAB management begins. The prognosis, on the other hand, is not one that most women want to hear. There is no magic cure for an OAB problem; it is a chronic, life-long condition that must be managed day by day for the rest of the woman’s natural life. Doctor Linda Brubaker, MD, professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Urology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and director of the Division of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at Loyola University Health System (LUHS), told a Web MD reporter, “Most people have ‘mixed’ incontinence, meaning that they may have symptoms of both stress incontinence and urge incontinence, or overactive bladder as well. We don’t have a single treatment that works on everything, so if you’ve got multiple symptoms from each condition, it’s likely that you’ll have to have more than one type of treatment.”

Emotional support

The treatment and management of OAB are a life-long undertaking. While there are some prescription medications that will help control the problem, there are no medications that will cure the problem. As important as medications for containing the problem are, emotional support is the key to returning to a relatively normal lifestyle. Both the OAB sufferer and the sufferer’s family need the emotional support of a support group to help them cope effectively with the problem.

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