Posted by: Thixia | January 15, 2009

Overactive Bladder 4  of 6




How much of an improvement can I expect in my OAB symptoms with treatment?


Answered by our expert Jennifer Skelly, Nurse Continence Advisor


This depends on the underlying factors playing a role in your OAB.  If your OAB symptoms were related to a high caffeine intake, then reducing your caffeine intake may give you a 100% improvement.  If your OAB was caused by a large number of complex issues, such as weak pelvic muscle tone and diabetes, working together, then you may not notice a full improvement.  It’s not possible to predict exactly how much your symptoms will improve.  But learning more about what you can do to help yourself, and talking to your nurse continence advisor or doctor about managing your OAB, can go a long way to improving your condition.


Answered by our expert Dr.  Pommerville, Urologist


It varies.  The vast majority of people should notice an improvement in their OAB symptoms, but their symptoms may not be completely relieved.  About one-third of people have complete relief of their symptoms.  Another two-thirds notice a definite improvement, to the point where they’re able to function normally and get back to their usual activities.  Keep in mind that there’s no quick fix for OAB – it may take about 3 months for your treatment to work.  At this point, your doctor will probably want to see you for a follow-up appointment.  If you are not getting the relief you had hoped for, or if you are having intolerable side effects, be sure to tell your doctor so you can adjust your treatment plan.




Is there anything I can do myself (e.g., lifestyle changes) that could help me cope with OAB?


Answered by our expert Jennifer Skelly, Nurse Continence Advisor


Yes.  The best way to start is by taking a look at your fluid and caffeine intake. 


Drinking too much caffeine is one of the most common causes of urgency (voiding accompanied by an urgent feeling that you need to go to the bathroom) and frequency (very frequent voiding, usually more than 8 times per day).  Keep a record of which fluids you drink and how much of each fluid you consume in a day.  If caffeine makes up more than 20% of your fluid intake, look at ways to reduce your caffeine intake, such as switching to decaf beverages or drinking water instead of caffeinated beverages.  As well, limit your intake of diet pop, as it contains a sweetener that irritates the bladder lining, causing frequency and urgency.


The other common reason for urgency and frequency is not consuming enough fluid.  People may think that if they drink less, they’ll go to the bathroom less often.  But reducing your fluid intake drastically can actually make things worse.  Your urine will become more concentrated and more irritating in smaller amounts.  This can lead to a smaller bladder capacity (the amount of urine the bladder can hold before you feel the urge to urinate), urgency and frequency, and an increased risk of bladder infection.  Be sure to get about 6-8 glasses of fluid per day.


Answered by our expert Dr.  Pommerville, Urologist


Yes, there are many lifestyle changes that can help you manage your OAB.  Weight loss and exercise may help with your symptoms.  If you’re a heavy smoker, it’s important to quit.  Heavy coffee drinkers should limit their intake.  And don’t forget that some carbonated beverages contain a lot of caffeine.  Keeping a voiding diary is an excellent way to keep track of your fluid and caffeine intake, and may help you and your doctor identify lifestyle issues that could be affecting your symptoms.


With a voiding diary, you write down how much fluid you consume and how much you are urinating each day, usually for 3 to 5 days.  After keeping a voiding diary, many people notice that they’re drinking too much fluid.  A voiding diary is also a great way to check your response to OAB treatment.  By doing a voiding diary before you start treatment and then another a few months later, you can see how much your symptoms have changed.


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