When Should You See a Doctor for Overactive Bladder
Life can feel isolating for those with overactive bladder. But studies show this problem—which affects upwards of 33 million Americans— is more common than you might think.
It’s so common, in fact, that most experts believe the statistics revealing 40% of women and 30% of men have the disorder are actually low, says Mon Health Urologist Jaschar Shakuri-Rad.
“Some people are embarrassed to admit they’re experiencing the symptoms of overactive bladder, or they don’t reach out to their doctors because they think it can’t be fixed,” said Dr. Shakuri-Rad. “So even though studies show almost half of Americans are suffering, true numbers are potentially even higher.”
Left untreated, overactive bladder can hinder a good night’s rest, cause strain in relationships with friends and family, decrease work productivity and more, he added.
“Overactive bladder is more than just a nuisance,” said Dr. Shakuri-Rad. “It can interfere with every aspect of life including work, sleep and social events…which unfortunately can lead those suffering to isolate themselves and feel alone.”
Signs of overactive bladder
According to the Urology Care Foundation, you may be experiencing overactive bladder if you have the following symptoms:
- Incontinence— People with overactive bladder may leak urine as soon as they feel the urge to go. Leaking can range from a few drops to much larger amounts of urine.
- Frequent urination— If you’re urinating more than 8 times in 24 hours, you may have overactive bladder.
- Constant night waking to urinate—Once or twice can be normal, but anything more than that may signify overactive bladder.
When you should see a doctor
According to Dr. Shakuri-Rad, it’s a good idea for those experiencing any, or all, of the symptoms above to check in with their doctor.
“Symptoms can be explained by something as simple as medications—or they can point to an underlying infection or illness,” said Dr. Shakuri-Rad. “So it’s important to be open and honest with your healthcare provider to find the root of the issue and how to resolve it.”
Depending on the cause, treatments for overactive bladder can vary from simple lifestyle changes and daily exercises to medication, therapy or surgery, says Dr. Shakuri-Rad.
“Oftentimes, patients are surprised that treatment methods can be very simple,” he said. “So don’t be embarrassed—checking in with your doctor if you’re suffering is the first step to regaining control of overactive bladder symptoms.”