Overactive Bladder causes frequent voiding, night time voiding, urgency, and the feeling of needing to urinate immediately after finishing. Many people who have Overactive Bladder might first think they have a bladder or urinary tract infection because of the symptoms. When testing comes back normal, a doctor might suggest Interstitial Cystitis because, again, the symptoms are very similar. And although the symptoms ARE quite similar, Overactive Bladder is a different condition.
Overactive Bladder involves your nervous system. When your bladder fills and needs to be emptied, nerve signals tell your brain. Your brain, in turn, relaxes and constricts certain muscles in your pelvic floor in order to allow the urine to pass. When you have Overactive Bladder, your muscles begin to contract and relax even though the bladder is not full; it is an involuntary response. Overactive Bladder can be caused by certain medications, neurological disorders, tumors or other blockages, excessive alcohol or caffeine intake, or a general decline in the neurological system’s ability to properly function. The condition can be helped with lifestyle changes, dietary changes, medication, surgery, or neurological stimulation, although none of these are considered a cure.
Interstitial Cystitis, although it shares many of the same symptoms, is not a form of Overactive Bladder. With Interstitial Cystitis, the pain, frequency, and urgency are caused by irritation to the lining of the bladder, not because of a neurological issue.
Regardless of which diagnosis you may have, if you are having any of these symptoms or find you are always on the hunt for the nearest restroom, it’s important to find a doctor who has a lot of experience treating bladder issues. He or she will know what to look for, will know what questions to ask, and will be able to recommend a treatment plan so you can get your life back. Let me and my staff help you find relief!