Banner Health Services  

Is surgery the answer for an overactive bladder?

Dr. Shawn Blick  

Shawn Blick, MD, is a board-certified urologist at Banner Estrella Medical Center.

Question: I use the bathroom more than 10 times a day lately. Should I see a doctor?

Answer: Yes, visiting a physician is a smart step. There could be many reasons behind your frequent bathroom breaks, including precursors to a serious health condition. One of the first conditions you should investigate through your primary care physician or urologist is overactive bladder, which could include incontinence.

Overactive bladder is most commonly found in women, with more than 17 million women nationwide diagnosed with the problem. There are three components to the definition of overactive bladder: 1) frequency, 2) urgency, and 3) incontinence.

If the frequency is as you described, more than 10 times a day, you should visit your physician to find out if the issue can be treated by behavior modification or by one of the many medications that are available today. Behavior modification could include time voiding, or urinating based on time not on urge, kegel exercises to control the muscles that control urine flow and bladder retraining, which is similar to what you do on a diet ~ stretching your bladder to more comfortably support you through longer periods of time.

If behavior modification is unsuccessful, there are multiple medications available. Your urologist can discuss which medication is best for you based on a complete history and physical and a medical evaluation.

Depending on what is found in your medical evaluation, you may have to undergo a minimally-invasive surgery. If, for instance, your muscles are not supporting your bladder, you may need a “hammock” surgically implanted to cradle your bladder and urethra, thus offering you better control of the urges that probably send you regularly to the bathroom.

Page Last Modified: 02/22/2010
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