When you experience the symptoms of overactive bladder (OAB), you will likely seek treatment from your family doctor or regular physician. Sometimes treatment won’t stop there. As with any medical condition, OAB can send you to several doctors before the problem is resolved. Also, as with other medical conditions, the doctors that you see and the treatment you receive will depend on a variety of factors, including the complexity and cause of your condition.
If you are experiencing symptoms of OAB, you should make an appointment with your primary care or family doctor. This doctor is the one who sees you for everything from a sprained muscle to an ear infection. They know your medical history and likely maintain a file on you. They’ll be your first line of diagnosis and treatment.
For many people, treatment will stop here. Your doctor can analyze your symptoms and conduct tests. OAB is often a sign of an infection or weak pelvic floor muscles. Your general doctor can easily treat things like this. If they believe you need to see a specialist, they can refer you. A specialist may help confirm a diagnosis or administer in-depth treatment and testing. Many insurance plans require you to see your primary doctor before seeing a specialist.
Urologists are doctors who specialize in the urinary tract and male reproductive organs. They are also trained in general surgery. Certification by the American Board of Urology is required for urologists. They must pass a two-part test to get certified. Not only are they educated in urinary tract conditions but also in:
- male infertility
- renal transplants
- erectile dysfunction
- kidney function (nephrology)
Men who have OAB will often see a urologist for diagnosis and treatment.
A nephrologist is a physician who specializes in the study and treatment of kidney diseases. Since the kidneys process fluids and send them to the bladder, nephrologists are equipped to handle OAB treatment. While in training, they’re required to have two years of internal medicine patient contact. The American Board of Internal Medicine certifies nephrologists.
Your doctor may refer you to this specialist to help you develop a nutrition guide to manage OAB symptoms. A nephrologist will also evaluate your kidneys to make sure they are working properly to process fluids before they enter the bladder. These doctors also have expertise in high blood pressure, fluid- and acid-based physiology, and chronic renal failure.
A gynecologist is a specialist in the female reproductive system. Doctors often refer women with OAB to this type of specialist because of the close connection between the female reproductive organs and the urinary tract. A urogynecologist is a gynecologist with additional training in disorders of the urinary tract.
Your gynecologist may be able to identify the cause of your OAB as it relates to your hormones, reproductive organs, and pelvic floor muscles. In addition, this specialist can prescribe a treatment plan to lessen or eliminate the symptoms.
While these doctors represent the main treatment providers in cases of OAB, they’re not the only ones. You may come in contact with laboratory technicians, pharmacists, and nurses during your treatment. The entire medical team plays a role in helping you manage and treat OAB.