Video: North Sydney Commuters were surprised to see the making of "the Wee Dance" in North Sydney recently to raise awareness of OAB.
Australians are being urged to ‘Check their Bladder’ during World Continence Week, from 19 to 25 June, with Overactive Bladder (OAB) estimated to affect around 1 in 9 people worldwide.*1
The symptoms associated with OAB may be controlled with more knowledge, a correct diagnosis and appropriate management. However, there is a huge lack of awareness, with only 6 out of 10 people who display symptoms speaking to a doctor.2
Australians may have OAB if they have:
URGENCY: The sudden overwhelming desire to urinate that is unable to be put off.
FREQUENCY: The need to urinate frequently during the day, often defined as eight or more times over a 24-hour period.
NOCTURIA: Waking at night to urinate, often one or more times.
URGE URINARY INCONTINENCE: This describes the involuntary loss or leakage of urine. A feeling of urgency – the sudden urge to ‘go’ – is often felt immediately before or during a leak.
OAB always includes the symptom of urgency, usually with frequency and nocturia, but it can be with or without incontinence.
OAB symptoms occur when nerves in the bladder send signals to the brain at the wrong time. Thinking the bladder is full, the brain tells the bladder to empty, squeezing the bladder muscle over-actively. It creates a sudden need to ‘go’.3 In some cases, the urge can be so sudden that you have trouble holding on and making it to the bathroom in time.
Astellas Pharma Australia has launched an awareness campaign, Hold On Australia, to raise awareness about OAB and try to encourage people to speak to their doctor about any urinary symptoms that bother them.
The reasons why people don’t speak to their doctor about OAB symptoms include:
The stigma surrounding bladder problems
The thought that nothing can be done to relieve symptoms
The belief that symptoms are a normal part of ageing
The perception that symptoms of OAB are not valid medical conditions
With appropriate management, OAB symptoms can be better controlled and relief afforded to the sufferer. If left unchecked, it may impact a person’s quality of life; they may restrict activities they once enjoyed, may make them feel embarrassed and could impact them socially, physically, emotionally and sexually.
Australians can get a better understanding of their bladder health by visiting bladderchecker.com.au and speaking with a doctor.
Management options for OAB
Adjust your diet: Certain types of food and drink irritate the bladder more than others. But some actively encourage bladder health. Check out this list of foods to avoid and those to embrace.
Foods to limit
Fruits, especially citrus (oranges, lemon, grapefruit)
Citrus drinks (orange or grapefruit juice)
Tomatoes and tomato-based food
Foods to embrace
Cranberry or prune juice
Cookies: non-chocolate, oatmeal
Decaffeinated beverages: tea, coffee
Medication: Not everyone needs medication to manage OAB symptoms. But if conservative management doesn’t deliver the results you were hoping for, there are several medications that your doctor can prescribe for you.
Other: If lifestyle management and/or medications fail, don’t give up hope. There are still several options to help with more severe cases of OAB. If you need them, your doctor will refer you to a specialist to discuss your options.