About frequency, urge and nocturia - overactive bladder syndrome

Out of the different types of urinary incontinence, frequency and Urge incontinence are the second most common type of urinary incontinence, after stress incontinence. Women experience frequency and urge incontinence in higher numbers than men. The International Continence Society defines frequency as going to the toilet more than you believe is normal.

Urge incontinence occurs when your bladder contracts without you intentionally wanting it to, giving you the urge to urinate and leaving you little or no time to get to the bathroom. The symptom combination of frequency, urge and nocturia (being woken up at night to urinate) that do not have any medical reason for their occurrence is known as Overactive Bladder Syndrome (OAB).

The strong feeling to pass urine is known as an urge. It results when your bladder tells your brain that it is full, even when it is not. Normally a person’s bladder will give your brain a couple of warning messages, the first message telling you to consider finding a toilet soon. A little time later a second message is sent, telling you to empty your bladder immediately. This urgent call to empty your bladder is also accompanied by your bladder contracting.

Having strong pelvic floor muscles will assist you to reduce this urgency and hold the urine in the bladder until you get to a toilet. Some people with urgency can use their pelvic floor muscle well and remain dry while other people with weaker pelvic floor muscle control experience urine loss.


Urge, Frequency and Nocturia - OAB Treatment

Just because you suffer from urge or OAB incontinence doesn’t mean that you should restrict your daily activities or social life. Urge incontinence responds well to the right incontinence treatment.

What treatment option you choose for your urge incontinence will normally depend on the underlying cause affecting you. As urge incontinence is normally a result of another underlying condition, that condition needs to be correctly identified so that you can be treated appropriately. Once you know the cause, your doctor will usually start by treating your urge incontinence condition using treatment options that are appropriate for you. The most common forms of conservative management are simple lifestyle changes, pelvic floor exercises and bladder retraining.

If your urge or OAB incontinence is left untreated and unresolved, it can greatly affect your social, professional and sex life, so it’s best to get treatment sooner rather than later.

The most commonly used urge or OAB incontinence treatment techniques are:

  • Pelvic floor exercises
  • Bladder training
  • Lifestyle changes: There are several things you can change in your everyday life to lessen the severity of urge incontinence. These changes include limiting intake of caffeinated drinks and alcohol and getting into optimal BMI/weight range.
  • Surgery: Surgicallly placed nerve electrical stimulators can be effective in treating intractable urge incontinence. Surgically placed Sacral or Tibial nerve stimulation devices are known to reduce the activity of the bladder. In most cases, surgery is only considered when all other incontinence treatment options have failed. 
  • Products: Depend Protect Plus+ Absorbent Pants is specifically designed to help you maintain your confidence as you manage your urge incontinence or bladder leakage

Recent studies put the number of people worldwide suffering from urge incontinence at between 50 and 100 million. So, remember you aren’t alone. Urge incontinence can cause a great amount of lifestyle stress and disruption. Don’t see urge incontinence as an inevitable part of your life, fight back and regain control over your bladder. Use the advice given here and seek help, advice and support from your doctors, nurses and physiotherapist’s. They are well versed in these treatment techniques and they will help you gain a real improvement in your quality of life.

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Kimberly-Clark Singapore makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information. This information should be used only as a guide and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical or other health professional advice.

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