Millions of Germans know the problem with the bubble. But what leads to one overactive bladder, also Irritable bladder called? Can you do something preventive? An intimate but important topic. After all, more and more young people are also affected.
What is an irritable bladderSchematic representation of the anatomy and structure of the urinary bladder. Click to enlarge.
One speaks of one overactive bladder (irritable bladder)if the function of the bladder is disturbed. It does not always have to be possible to find physical causes for this.
Those affected often have the feeling that their bladder is full. However, this is not the case in purely biological terms. Despite the strong urge to urinate, there is often very little urine in the bladder. With an irritable bladder, the urge to urinate occurs very suddenly and urgently. More than eight times in a 24-hour period, you have the feeling that you absolutely have to go to the toilet.
Even in the middle of the night, patients are woken up by their apparently full bladder. Extremely uncomfortable - but luckily not always given - is (nocturnal) wetting. Irritable bladder affects women more than men.
The causes of a Irritable bladder are diverse. Pregnancies and other changes in hormonal status (menopause) often lead to irritable bladder. However, long periods of sitting on stones or other cold surfaces can also be the cause.
It is known that women get cystitis very easily due to a shortened urinary tract. As a result of this inflammation, an irritable bladder can develop. If the symptoms are very severe, a tumor or a foreign body should also be considered when looking for the cause.
Certain medications can also cause irritable bladder. But the causes are not always physical. Stress at work or in private life can also lead to irritable bladder in people who are predisposed to it. What leads to an irritated stomach in one person, affects the bladder in another.
Symptoms, ailments & signs
A typical sign of an irritable bladder is an almost overbearing urge to urinate, even if the bladder is often only partially filled. Those affected then suddenly feel the need to quickly go to the nearest toilet without warning. Some can barely hold back this urge and urine may leak before the toilet, some a few drops, but some larger amounts of urine.
Most of those affected have to go to the toilet several times at night, which can affect the quality of sleep. Medical professionals speak of an irritable or overactive bladder when the bladder has to be emptied more than eight times a day and twice a night.
In addition to the urge to urinate, involuntary leakage of urine can occur when sneezing or doing physical exertion such as lifting and carrying. This form is called stress incontinence by doctors. The symptoms of irritable bladder severely limit those affected because they always have the feeling that they have to be near a toilet. The fear of an involuntary loss of urine can exacerbate the symptoms due to the constant tension and severely impair the quality of life overall.
Course of disease
The course of a Irritable bladder can seldom be improved without external influence. The severity is different. However, many patients have two things in common:
You often feel very little hunger. Abdominal pain is also not uncommon. When passing urine, there is a burning pain. Despite these signs, many sufferers remain alone with their illness.
But shame shouldn't make you shy away from going to the doctor. As the disease progresses, many patients drink less and less. But this leads to a weaker and weaker bubble. In the end, only the irritable bladder condition worsens.
If an irritable bladder is adequately treated promptly, serious complications are usually not to be expected. However, many of those affected are still embarrassed about this condition or initially not taken seriously. In this case, the bladder irritation can be more severe than with timely therapy. On the one hand, the pain when urinating, which is usually only mild at first, can gain intensity and become unbearable for the person concerned.
In response to this symptom, patients often drastically reduce their fluid intake, which only makes the underlying disease worse and can lead to circulatory problems and a number of secondary diseases. If the disorder is not treated professionally immediately, the risk of the disorder becoming chronic increases. With a chronic course, urinary incontinence often sets in. In addition, the risk of developing a functional shrink blister increases.
In addition to physical symptoms, especially with a chronic irritable bladder, complications of a psychological or social nature are to be expected. Because people have lost control of their bladder, they avoid situations in which they cannot use the toilet at all times. Traveling on public transport, taking part in company or club outings, and going to a theater or cinema is then perceived by those affected as a stressful situation that they prefer to avoid. In the long term, this can lead to social isolation, which in turn can lead to serious mental illnesses, particularly depression.
When should you go to the doctor?
Changes and abnormalities in going to the toilet should always be observed. If the symptoms persist over a longer period of time or if they become increasingly intense, it is advisable to have the symptoms clarified by a doctor. If the toilet is used unusually often and there is an inner restlessness or irritability, there is a need for action. Frequent urination can be interpreted as a warning signal from the organism. If there is a feeling of pressure in the bladder when absorbing small amounts of fluid, the observations should be discussed with a doctor.
If the need to urinate develops again shortly after using the toilet, this is considered worrying. A doctor's visit is required for a diagnosis. Consultation with a doctor should be sought in the event of persistent stress, a phase of emotional stress or general malaise. If sleep disturbances, a decrease in physical performance or if the daily obligations cannot be adequately fulfilled due to the disturbances, a doctor is required. If you have incontinence, feelings of shame or emotional irregularities, it is advisable to consult a doctor. If social problems develop or leisure activities cannot be perceived due to the symptoms, a doctor should be consulted.
Treatment & Therapy
Treatment of the overactive bladder can be done with medication. It is recommended that you see a doctor who is familiar with alternative treatment methods. An irritable bladder can be treated very well with herbal medicines. They often contain components of nettle or pumpkin and are very well tolerated by sensitive people.
Targeted training of the muscles in the pelvic floor can strengthen the bladder. In no case should you make the mistake of drinking less. That is a mistake. Because the irritable bladder shows up even with very small amounts of urine. And without enough fluid, there is a risk that other functions will fail. In the worst case, the body can dry out.
If no physical causes for the irritable bladder can be found, it only helps to slow down in life and find the stress trigger. Visiting a psychologist can be helpful if you have major problems. Sometimes just a few conversations help. If possible, taboo should be given to irritable bladder: coffee, alcohol and cigarettes.
You can find your medication here➔ Medicines for bladder and urinary tract health
Many people wonder out of fear of one Irritable bladder: What can I do preventively? The advice of our grandmothers still applies: Do not rely on cold floors! Bladder infections and later the irritable bladder can thus be avoided.
Of course, nothing can be done about hormonal disorders due to pregnancy and menopause. But especially in our fast-moving times: Better to take a deep breath and not let yourself be stressed by (apparent) problems! Your own body (the bladder) will thank you. The irritable bladder does not appear (anymore).
You can do that yourself
There are several ways to help yourself with an overactive bladder. It should be noted, however, that not all measures work equally well for all people. This is due to the fact that the causes of the irritable bladder can be so diverse.
In this way, those affected can mainly do bladder and continence training. This essentially consists of drinking large amounts of water. The amount you drink should be increased bit by bit so that the bladder can expand. This alone can reduce the urge to urinate. In addition, those affected should deliberately lengthen the times between going to the toilet and thus practice holding urine. It is important that the urine is held until the person concerned really needs to go to the toilet very urgently. Accordingly, continence training should be carried out within easy reach of a toilet.
Diuretic foods and drinks should be avoided. This includes coffee, black tea, alcoholic beverages and nettles in particular. Reducing or quitting smoking can help calm an irritated bladder.
If the urge to urinate is mainly psychologically induced, those affected can develop distraction strategies in everyday life. If a situation arises that leads to a sudden need to urinate, for example, internal counting or a poem can be recited. Focusing on one thought can reduce stress and relax the bladder. With pain and cramps in this context, hot compresses, sharp ointments (for example with mint) and warm baths help.