The Ladies’ Room – All About Overactive Bladder (OAB) 2

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: April 7, 2014

What Is It?
Don’t Ignore Changes In Your Behavior
Diagnosing and Treating Overactive Bladder

We all need to powder our noses occasionally, but for women with a condition known as overactive bladder, all-too-frequent trips to the ladies’ room are less about fixing their lipstick and more of a frustrating — and sometimes embarrassing — disruption of their daily activities. Unfortunately, many women don’t realize they have overactive bladder, even though they are altering their lifestyle to accomodate their bladder issues. They’ve made restricting how much fluid they drink and “mapping bathrooms” so they can always find one in a hurry part of their normal routine. Sound familiar?

Overactive bladder is not a normal part of aging. But it’s more common than you might think, affecting 1 in 6 adults in the United States. The good news is this condition can be treated, so there’s no need to keep silent about the symptoms.

Read on to learn more about the symptoms of overactive bladder.

What Is It?

Overactive bladder is a chronic condition that results when the wrong signals are sent to the bladder muscle, causing it to contract before the bladder is full. These contractions may cause strong, sudden urges, and a frequent need to go to the bathroom. Sometimes, urges occur with little advanced warning and can cause embarrassing wetting episodes.

Did You Know?

  • Overactive bladder affects about 17 percent of women in the United States
  • Though common, the condition is widely misunderstood and can be difficult to discuss with a healthcare professional
  • Overactive bladder can affect adults of any age


People suffering with overactive bladder can experience any combination of one or more symptoms:

  • Urgency: an overwhelming need to go to the bathroom right away
  • Frequency: the need to go to the bathroom more than eight times in a 24-hour period
  • Urge Incontinence: a sudden and urgent need to go to the bathroom, followed by leakage

A Treatable Condition

While many people associate the symptoms with aging or even think they’re a consequence of childbirth, they’re actually the sign of a medical condition that can be treated. Overactive bladder is not normal at any age, and it’s important for people with these symptoms to know that they don’t have to continue to live with them.

Don’t Ignore Changes In Your Behavior

Overactive bladder may have a physical, social and emotional impact. Because the condition arises gradually, many people with overactive bladder adapt their routines over a period of years and fail to notice their lives are being disrupted. Many choose to cope by changing their lifestyle rather than seeking treatment. Here are some signs that you or someone you know may be coping with overactive bladder:

  • Avoiding certain activities because it means you won’t be near a bathroom for an extended period of time
  • Cutting down on the fluids you drink even if you are thirsty
  • Needing to know where a bathroom is at all times
  • Bringing pads or extra clothing with you when you are away from home
  • Limiting your wardrobe choices to darker colors, even in the summer, to conceal leaks
  • Avoiding sexual activity becaues you worry you might leak
  • Forcing yourself to stay up late so you can go to the bathroom once more before sleep
  • Using excess perfume to mask potential odor

Do Any of These Excuses Sound Familiar?

Women with overactive bladder may have a mental list of pre-determined “reasons” why they need to frequently slip away from business meetings or social activities.

  • “You’re going to the ladies’ room? I think I’ll join you.”
  • “I’ll be right back, I need to powder my nose.”
  • “It must have been that venti coffee that I had this morning.”
  • “Excuse me, I have to make a quick phone call. I’ll just be a minute.”
  • “You all go ahead; I’ll meet you in a few minutes.”

Diagnosing and Treating Overactive Bladder

Diagnosing overactive bladder is challenging. It’s a very personal, sensitive topic, and many people keep silent about their symptoms. In fact, as many as 40 percent of people with overactive bladder do not mention anything about their condition to their healthcare professional. That’s why it is important to stop being silent and discuss your bladder health concerns and treatment options with your doctor.

Take More Control of Overactive Bladder

Some steps can help you gain control of overactive bladder. Begin by having a discussion with your healthcare professional. He or she may advise behavioral modifications, prescription medications, or even surgery. There are prescription medications currently available, such as VESIcare, that help control the bladder muscle to reduce urges and leaks day and night.

When Should You Talk To Your Doctor?

Talk to your healthcare professional if you ever find yourself experiencing the symptoms of overactive bladder, including altering your lifestyle and avoiding certain activities because you worry you might have an accident. Keep track of your bladder habits for a few days before your appointment so you can provide more detail regarding the symptoms you’re experiencing. Use the Bladder Symptoms Checklist to easily monitor and record what your daily symptoms are and discuss them with your doctor.

Here are some questions to ask your doctor:

  • What might be causing my symptoms?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What do you recommend for me?
  • What are the pros and cons of treatment?
  • What kind of results may I expect from treatment?
  • How long will I have to wait to see results?

Helping Someone Else

Overactive bladder can be a very delicate topic, so keep in mind that sharing your story with a family member or friend who you believe may be suffering from overactive bladder can be a first step in encouraging them to talk to their doctor. You or a loved one can get more information by going to

Important Safety Information

VESIcare is for urgency, frequency and leakage (overactive bladder). VESIcare is not for everyone. If you have certain stomach or glaucoma problems, or trouble emptying your bladder, do not take VESIcare. Tell your doctor right away if you have a serious allergic reaction, severe abdominal pain, or become constipated for three or more days. VESIcare may cause blurred vision, so take care while driving or doing unsafe tasks until you know how VESIcare affects you. Common side effects are dry mouth, constipation and indigestion.

For complete Prescribing Information for VESIcare, click here.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of presciption drugs to the FDA.

Visit, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

The i
nformation provided on this Web site is intended for your general knowledge and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment of a specific medical condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your conditions.

Editorial review and sponsorship for this Web site provided by Astellas Pharma US, Inc. and the GlaxoSmithKline Group of Companies.

With the exception of sponsored content, Sponsors are not responsible for any of the material on this Web site.

VESIcare is a registered trademark of Astellas Pharma US, Inc.