Overactive Bladder Management, and Recognizing Bladder Infection Symptoms

Most of us have a sufficient level of control when the body lets us know that it’s time for us to relieve ourselves. It becomes a need, and it may come with some discomfort, but we’re at least able to ‘hold it in’ until we find a restroom. For someone with an overactive bladder, however, there is much more urgency to the need to relieve themselves. This inability to wait makes the condition very problematic for these people. Urinary incontinence can develop on its own, or develop as a result of a bladder infection. Bladder infection symptoms can precede the onset of urinary incontinence.

There is also the possibility that a perceived bladder infection is actually a urinary tract infection. A urinary tract infection can be the cause of overactive bladder symptoms or bladder infection symptoms. In the short-term people with urinary incontinence may choose to wear some type of undergarment to protect against involuntary leakage, but they’ll be pleased to hear that there are other ways to treat bladder infection symptoms or a urinary tract infection.

Overactive Bladder Symptoms

This is one where the symptoms are pretty much self-explanatory given the name of the condition. An overactive bladder (OAB) involves uncontrolled spasms of the bladder muscle that creates the urge to urinate. This problem stems from malfunctions with the nerves and muscles of the bladder. There can be many causes for this nervous system malfunction, but the most common ones are spinal cord injury, degenerative spinal issues, Parkinson’s disease, strokes, dementia, multiple sclerosis, or diabetic neuropathy.

It can also be the result of multiple pregnancies for women, and obesity increases the risk of OAB for either gender.

Overactive bladder symptoms include:

  • Having to urinate 8 more times in a day
  • Urgency (inability to wait or ‘hold it’) with urination
  • Nocturia (awakening to urinate regularly at night)

Bladder Infection Symptoms

Women get bladder infections (cystitis) more frequently than men. While the infections themselves are a serious health concern, the real risk is that they may travel up to the kidneys and if they do then a number of more-serious problems can occur. For this reason it’s important to treat bladder infections without delay, and this makes it preferable to identify bladder infection symptoms as early as possible.

The foremost of all bladder infection symptoms seen in people is a burning sensation experienced while urinating. When this happens, it is usually a sign of a bladder infection or an STD (sexually transmitted disease). Most people, however, will be able to eliminate the 2nd possibility due to the fact they’re in a long-term monogamous relationship.

Other bladder infection symptoms include:

  • Having to urinate more frequently than previously
  • Only producing a small volume of urine, despite strong urges to urinate
  • Urine that smells particularly bad, or worse than usual
  • Cloudy or bloody urine
  • Pelvic pain
  • Fever

Do note as well that when fever is one of the perceived bladder infection symptoms then it usually means the infection has spread to the kidneys.

Urinary Tract Infection

A urinary tract infection is different from a bladder infection, and as the name suggests it means the infection is outside of the bladder and along the urinary tract leading to the urethra. Generally speaking, a urinary tract infection is a more serious condition than a bladder infection. What you see as bladder infection symptoms may actually be indicators of a urinary tract infection, and a UTI treatment will be the correct course of treatment.

Unfortunately, physiological conditions mean that women also get urinary tract infections more frequently than men too. Urinary tract infections include:

  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Frequent and / or intense urges to urinate
  • Discoloured and / or strange-smelling urine
  • Feeling shaky or tired to point of weakness unexplainedly
  • Fever or chills

In the same way it is for bladder infections, a fever may be a sign of the infection having spread to the kidneys

Overactive Bladder Treatment

The treatment for an overactive bladder typically involves diet and lifestyle therapies, as well as physical therapy approaches and the use of medications. In severe cases or ones that do not respond to therapy and medication, surgery may be a possibility. The most common surgery for OAB is to have an injection of botulinum toxin into the bladder wall.

Kegel exercises are the most effective physical therapy approach, and anticholinergic class medications are the ones most commonly prescribed for overactive bladder symptoms. These include Ditropan XL, Detrol , Sanctura, and Enablex XR.

Bladder Infection Treatment

The good news here is that sometimes bladder infection symptoms clear up on their own. If not, the standard treatment for a bladder infection is to take antibiotics as prescribed by your physician. Antibiotics that are commonly prescribed for bladder infections include Keflex (cephalexin),Amoxicillin, Elmiron, and Hiprex (methenamine).

Urinary Tract Infection UTI Treatment

Conversely, a urinary tract infection will not clear up on its own. A course of antibiotic treatment will be required, and most of the same medications listed above as choices for bladder infection treatment will also be effective within a UTI treatment. Generally speaking, patients need to take antibiotics for a longer period of time when they are part of a UTI treatment as compared to the shorter times needed for overcoming a bladder infection.

For complicated ones you may need to take them for up to 2 weeks, and for some people who develop UTIs chronically a 6-month of longer course of treatment is required sometimes. Of course, your physician will make all of these determinations after examining you and reviewing your medical history.