Irritable bladder syndrome is characterized by involuntarily bladder contractions, resulting in urinary incontinence (uncontrollable urge to urinate). This condition is also referred to as overactive bladder.
Normally bladder muscles are relaxed when the bladder gradually fills up. When it is filled, we have a feeling of wanting to urinate and can easily hold the urine for some time. People with irritable bladder may have a random feeling of wanting to urinate, even if the bladder is not really filled up, because the muscles contract too early. Thus it becomes difficult to control urination. In most cases this medical condition is caused by interstitial cystitis. However, several other medical disorders may provoke it, among which are urinary tract infections, stones, pregnancy, nerves or brain damage (such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease). But the reason may also remain unknown.
Signs and symptoms
The symptoms of irritable bladder syndrome are associated with urination and include:
- small amount of urine passed despite the strong urge to urinate;
- burning or sharp pain during urination;
- nocturia, which means going to the toilet for several times at night or bedwetting;
- repeated infections;
- pain in the pelvic area;
- inability to empty completely;
- slow urine flow;
- pain during sexual intercourse.
Diagnosis and treatment
In order to make the diagnosis, doctor should check your medical history and perform physical examination. Doctor may ask you to record the time and amount of urination for the certain period of time. Cystometry may be performed in order to measure the intrabladder pressure. Some other analyses, among which are urine culture, cystoscopy, x-ray or cystigram may be needed to define the cause of the disorder.
Treatment is prescribed depending of the causes of the disease and includes medicines, training exercises and lifestyle and diet changes. In most cases the following measures are taken in order to relieve the symptoms:
- Pelvic exercises, notably Kegel exercises, are efficient in pain relieving;
- Altering the diet may eliminate the irritation, notably spicy foods, alcohol, tobacco products and caffeine are recommended to be avoided;
- Distention, a procedure involving stretching out of the bladder, may be performed. After the procedure a patients can hold more urine;
- Antibiotics are prescribed if there are some urinary tract infections;
- Among the medication prescribed for symptoms management are antispasmodics, that relax the muscles, antidepressants like amitriptyline; antimuscarinics (also referred to as anticholinergics) such as oxybutynin, trospium chloride, propiverine, and solifenacin;
- Electric nerve stimulation;
- Muscles training, that involves scheduled urination, makes it possible to hold more urine;
- Surgical intervention is rarely helpful.
Irritable bladder syndrome is difficult to prevent as it is not always possible to identify its causes. You can control the amount of fluids you intake it order to prevent incontinence, but it is still needed to consult the doctor as for best measures of treatment.
Keep in mind that incontinence is a common medical condition and you should’t be ashamed of it. You should seek medical care as soon as you start experiencing any of the symptoms of this disorder.
These articles can be used for informational purposes only. To get an accurate diagnosis consult your doctor!
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