December 18, 2014
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Bladder (Overactive)

 Health Home >> Bladder (Overactive) >> Managing overactive bladder 


OAB management overview

The treatment of overactive bladder (OAB) depends on the severity of your symptoms, the impact of your symptoms on your quality of life, and your medical history. You and your doctor will develop a treatment plan that is suitable for you.

Treatment options for OAB include lifestyle interventions, medications, and surgery.

Lifestyle interventions include lifestyle changes such as reducing caffeine and alcohol intake, bladder training, timed voiding, and Kegel exercises. Bladder training, timed voiding, and Kegel exercises (exercises that strengthen pelvic floor muscles) can all help to decrease the urgency to urinate.

Other lifestyle interventions your doctor may suggest include biofeedback and functional electrical stimulation (FES).

For more information about these options, read "Overactive bladder: lifestyle interventions."

Your doctor may also prescribe a medication to help with your symptoms. The main group of medications used to treat overactive bladder is called anticholinergics (e.g., darifenacin, oxybutynin, tolterodine). These medications decrease the urge to urinate by reducing involuntary contractions of the detrusor muscle in the bladder.

Talk to your doctor about whether medications are a good option for you. People with certain medical conditions (e.g., urinary retention, narrow-angle glaucoma) should not take anticholinergics.

Read "Overactive bladder: medications" for more information about medications used treat the symptoms of overactive bladder.

If lifestyle intervention and medications have been unsuccessful, your doctor may recommended a surgical procedure to help with your symptoms.

Talk to your doctor about the treatment options that are available to you and ask about the benefits and risks and what to expect from each treatment option.


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