By Briana Davis, Clinical Trials of Texas
SAN ANTONIO - Overactive bladder is a common condition that affects an estimated 1 in 11 adults in the United States. Symptoms of overactive bladder often present substantial social limitations on every day activities and thus have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life; however, most individuals with overactive bladder do not seek the care of a medical professional.
The risk of overactive bladder increases with age and affects both men and women; however, women are nearly twice as likely to experience symptoms. Individuals with overactive bladder often experience frequent, overwhelming and sudden urges to urinate. The urge is typically very difficult to subdue and may result in an involuntary loss of urine (incontinence). Men and women with overactive bladder typically urinate eight or more times in a period of 24 hours.
The symptoms of an overactive bladder are most often caused by involuntary muscle contractions in the wall of the urinary bladder which induce an urgency to urinate. Other medical conditions may be responsible for symptoms that resemble overactive bladder such as neurological disorders (e.g. Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and multiple sclerosis), bladder abnormalities, urinary tract infection, enlarged prostate or drug side effects. These conditions can be ruled out through an evaluation with a medical professional. In some cases, a physician may not be able to pinpoint an exact cause for symptoms of overactive bladder.
Overactive bladder is often diagnosed through a medical history and full physical, which typically includes a neurological evaluation, and a pelvic or rectal exam. Diagnostic urine and blood tests are likely to be performed as well and further urodynamic tests may be requested to fully assess bladder function and determine an appropriate treatment plan.
Behavioral techniques are often utilized to control symptoms of overactive bladder. A physician may recommend a reduction in fluid consumption, bladder training (i.e. delaying at the onset of the urge to urinate for a specified amount of time or making scheduled trips to the restroom), and pelvic floor exercises, known as Kegels, to strengthen muscles critical to holding urine.
If behavioral techniques do not provide sufficient treatment, medications that relax the muscles of the bladder wall may be prescribed. The most common prescribed medications include oxybutynin (Ditropan), an oxybutynin skin patch (Oxytrol), tolterodine (Detrol), trospium (Sanctura), solifenacin (Vesicare) and darifenacin (Enablex).
Less common and more invasive treatments include sacral nerve stimulation, which involves the placement of a thin wire near the sacral nerves that sends electrical impulses to the bladder. Surgery to increase bladder capacity may also be recommended, however only in extreme cases because it presents the risk of serious side effects. Affected individuals may be required to utilize a catheter to void urine for the rest of their lives.
As with most medical conditions, implementing healthy lifestyle changes such as daily exercise, a healthy diet with limited alcohol and caffeine consumption and quitting smoking can reduce the risk of overactive bladder.
Clinical Trials of Texas, Inc. is conducting a research study for men and women experiencing symptoms of overactive bladder. If you would like to learn more about this trial, please call 210-949-0122 or visit us at SAresearch.com