Discussing OAB with your GP
Studies suggest OAB symptoms are under-reported and often inadequately treated.
This may be because people feel embarrassed, view the symptoms as an inevitable result of ageing, assume there are no effective treatments available, fear treatment or there may be a lack of communication between people and their doctors.
Your GP can assess your condition and importantly provide you with a referral to a specialist Urologist or Urogynaecologist who can diagnose and provide you with an overview of appropriate treatment options depending on the severity of your bladder problems.
Dr Danielle Delaney:
“If you are embarrassed to speak to your GP about overactive bladder take the questionnaire on this website and use it as a conversation starter for your appointment.”
Stop letting the symptoms of overactive bladder disrupt your life, remember it is a largely treatable condition. Many people with OAB suffer for a period of months or even years before seeing a physician. Don’t delay seeing your healthcare professional.
& behavioural training
At first, your doctor will start with a combination of lifestyle interventions and behavioural modifications such as altering fluid intake, avoiding alcohol, caffeine, bladder training and pelvic floor exercises. A continence therapist such as a specialised nurse or physiotherapist can assist with this aspect of treatment. For more information on these therapies, please visit The Continence Foundation of Australia.
There are several medications now available for OAB, with anticholinergics most commonly prescribed. These can be prescribed by your GP or a Specialist and are often added if the initial measures fail to treat the symptoms. Sometimes these medications do not work or are not well tolerated. Often this leads to people choosing to stop taking their medication within the first year.
Your Urologist or Urogynaecologist can inject medication into your bladder via a cystoscope to help relax and calm the bladder muscle, which minimises sudden contraction and reduces leakage episodes.
Neuromodulation involves mild electrical pulses to regulate the nerves that control the bladder and the muscles related to urination. It is thought that it helps the brain to communicate with the nerves of the bladder to help the bladder function more normally.
In rare cases, bladder augmentation may be considered for severe cases of OAB. This type of treatment is usually as a last resort, when people with severe incontinence have not responded to other treatments.
For more information, phone the
National Continence Helpline 1800 33 00 66.
The Helpline is a free, confidential service managed by the Continence Foundation of Australia on behalf of the Australian Government, and is staffed by continence nurse advisors who provide advice, referrals and resources.
Here are a couple of video diaries from a specialist and person with OAB’s perspective on life with OAB and tips for kick starting a conversation about overactive bladder.