Incontinence & OAB

Overactive Bladder: The Facts Vs The Myths

Overactive bladder remains one of the mostly commonly undiagnosed conditions in amongst the general population. An oft research paper from BJU Int estimates 4 out of 10 patients with symptoms of overactive bladder may not actually seek medical help.

Overactive bladder, or OAB, is a condition where the bladder can no longer hold urine normally. This is accompanied by urinary urgency and is often accompanied by frequency and nocturia. Indeed the most common symptom of OAB is the sudden, difficult to control, urge to urinate. This may result in some leakage.

Leakage of urine is called “incontinence” and because the two are linked, a common question we often hear is: So what is the difference between having an overactive bladder and urinary incontinence?

Well urinary incontinence isn’t itself a condition like OAB is, it’s a symptom which could be a result of a number of issues. For instance, incontinence could be a sign of something simple like excessive fluid consumption. But, it also can signal a more serious problem, like a urinary tract infection (UTI).

OAB itself is caused by premature, uncontrolled contractions of the detrusor muscle (the bladder muscle) which results in the feeling to urinate.

However, these contractions and subsequent ‘feeling’ or urinate does not always in actual urination. A person can also have ‘dry’ OAB as the mind registers these contractions as an urgent need to urinate. You’ll make it to the bathroom on time but it can cause a lot of frustration, worry and anxiety.

‘Wet’ OAB on the other hand means you may not always make it to the bathroom without leaking urine.

In terms of the lifestyle causes of OAB, these vary from person to person and it is best to speak to your urologist or Dr Phillip Katelaris to diagnose your particular situation.

Common causes include (but are not limited to):

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3d persons mans need a toilet waiting in front of restroom sign

Food and Drink to Avoid to Reduce Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence – or accidental leakage of urine – is not a pleasant condition. It can occur for a number of reasons, such as older age, pregnancy and childbirth, surgery, obesity, urinary tract infections, or a chronic cough.

It may also occur as a result of stress incontinence – a condition where small amounts of urine leak out when a person does certain activities such as laughing, playing sport, lifting an object or sneezing. Bladder weakness may also occur in men following surgery in the form of urinary incontinence post prostatectomy.

When you have this problem, you might think that avoiding fluids will help. However, the opposite is more likely the case, in that dehydration can lead to irritation of the bladder. Drinking plenty of fluids can help to keep the bladder healthy, which may in turn help to reduce leakage.

What is ‘normal’?

Healthy urine should be pale yellow. When it is darker in colour, it may indicate dehydration, although some vitamin pills can change the colour of otherwise healthy urine. It’s also considered normal to pass urine four to six times per day and once during the night, and to be able to urinate without strain and to empty the bladder completely.

Urinary incontinence prevalence

According to the Continence Foundation Australia, the condition may affect around 13% of men and 37% of women at some stage of their lives. Research shows that around 70% of people report not seeking treatment for urinary leakage, and that 50% of women aged 45-59 report having suffered some degree of incontinence.

Drinks to avoid

While fluids can help to prevent incontinence, there are some drinks that can worsen the problem by irritating the bladder, particularly those that are acidic in nature.

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