Symptoms in men often are mistaken for other problems like enlarged prostate. In the United States, about 33 million people suffer from overactive bladder and other forms of urinary incontinence. Signs and symptoms of overactive bladder include feeling a sudden, strong urge to urinate, experiencing the involuntary loss of urine immediately following an urgent need to urinate, urinating frequently, usually eight or more times in 24 hours and waking up two or more times during the night to urinate, which is called nocturia.
According to a study in the Journal of Urology, fewer than half of women and less than one-quarter of men who experience these symptoms ever talk to their doctor about the problem. Experts say don't avoid an evaluation and simply deal with the condition by wearing absorbent undergarments or pads. It's also important to talk to your doctor because an overactive bladder may occur as a result of a serious underlying problem, such as a cancerous tumor.
TREATMENT: Behavioral interventions can help manage an overactive bladder. You can limit the amount of caffeinated and alcoholic beverages you consume because they may worsen the symptoms. Eating a diet rich in fiber or taking fiber supplements may also help. Sometimes, doctors recommend a strategy to train patients to delay the urge to urinate. There are also many medications on the market that relax the bladder and can help alleviate symptoms. These drugs include tolterodine (Detrol), oxybutynin (Ditropan) and solifenacin (Vesicare). However, these drugs do have common side effects including dry eyes, dry mouth and constipation.
PTNS: Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS) is a new, neuromodulation therapy that is proven as an effective treatment for patients with overactive bladder. It uses electrical stimulation to target specific nerves in the sacral plexus that controls bladder function. The treatment targets the sacral plexus from an accessible, minimally-invasive entry point in the nervous system -- the posterior tibial nerve near the ankle.
"We usually see that patients don't necessarily benefit immediately after a therapy session. Our experience is that it takes about four sessions before they really start to appreciate significant improvement in their symptoms," Suzette E. Sutherland, M.D., told Ivanhoe. In one study, about 55 percent of patients reported significant improvement with PTNS. However, it is not always covered by insurance. Each session can cost between $200 and $250.
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