OVERACTIVE BLADDER CAN BE HELPED
Submitted by: Marc C. Gittelman, M.D.
Submitted on: July 18, 2006
Q: I am 36 and for years I have been suffering from frequency and urgency to urinate. I know where every bathroom is in the mall and I often can barely make it. My embarrassment peaked recently when I had a sudden urge to pee during sex and I narrowly escaped dry. Is something wrong with me?
A: You have an overactive bladder. The condition typically presents as frequency to urinate with urgency that is severe enough that it may even cause episodes of incontinence. You may be shocked to find out that this condition is relatively common. About 10 percent of women your age have an overactive bladder and it can affect 30 percent of women by age 65. That translated into nearly 33 million Americans. Surprisingly the condition is as common in men as it is in women, but for men leakage is extremely unusual, even when they get the strongest urge to void.
For most patients, overactive bladder is an unfortunate part of aging. But for others it can be an early sign of diabetes, neurological problems or even chronic bladder conditions such as cystitis. Visit your physician to be certain that there are no other underlying problems.
The good news is that there are a wide variety of things you can do to help yourself. The No. 1 culprit that produces frequency and urgency is caffeine, which is found not only in coffee and tea, but also in chocolate and many other dietary supplements. Liquor can also act as a diuretic, doubling the effect on your bladder. If you problem is primarily at night, stop drinking fluids a few hours before bedtime. The next step would be to consider medication to help decrease urinary frequency, urgency and urgency incontinence.
Regaining your confidence in your urinary control is an important element in regaining your sense of sexual confidence that allows you to be less focused on staying dry and more focused on being romantic.