This health video will show you different ways to help Tame an Overactive Bladder.
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Sharon Vining: I knew where all the bathrooms in town were. Male Speaker: Earlier, we spoke about a urinary problem exclusive to men, now we focus on one that affects women too. More than 20 million Americans suffer from overactive bladder and many suffer in silence, embarrassed by the constant need to urinate and so debilitated, they become prisoners, shackled to the bathroom. Research is leading to better treatments for this urgent matter. Cindy Sinclair: I got to where -- I hardly ever left my house. Female Speaker: I didn't get on time, and possibly I could have an accident. Cindy Sinclair: I nearly had a nervous breakdown. Male Speaker: Words that hit home with millions who feel trapped in their homes by a common, the embarrassing problem. Dr. Christopher Smith: It's the last really urologic condition to come out of the closet. Male Speaker: Overactive bladder is caused when the muscles surrounding the bladder contracts spastically creating pressure in the urgent need to urinate. Dr. Christopher Smith: They have a bladder spasm and they can't make it to the bathroom in time. Cindy Sinclair: Outside of going to work, I never went anywhere. Dr. Christopher Smith: They don't know that there is treatment available. They don't know how common it is. Male Speaker: In the past few years, oral medications have become a leading choice for patients seeking help. Dr. Christopher Smith: The mainstay for treatment is basically a combination therapy between medications, oral medications and behavioral therapy. Male Speaker: Patients using these drugs generally take one pill a day. Dr. Christopher Smith: Medication works on the muscle itself. It blocks the receptors that the Acetylcholine, the chemical that's released from nerve endings causes the muscle to contract. Dr. Sandra Emmons: The patient doesn't feel the urge to go the bathroom quite so frequently. Dr. Thomas Cangiano: They usually work within a week or so, but you get maximal effects on most of these medications in four weeks. Male Speaker: While these medications provide many patients with relief -- Dr. Christopher Smith: They can often have side effects such as dry mouth, constipation. Male Speaker: A familiar name also shows promise in early testing. Dr. Christopher Smith: Botox is a good option. Male Speaker: You heard it right. The injection famous for erasing wrinkles is now being tested to tame overactive bladders, in a similar condition called interstitial cystitis. Dr. Christopher Smith: It essentially paralyzes the nerves so that the muscle does not receive any stimulation. Male Speaker: The injection lasts three to six months, then it can be repeated. But it is not yet approved for this by the FDA. Sharon Vining became an expert of plotting even the simplest excursions. Sharon Vining: We always have to plan a place that would have bathroom stops along the way. As soon as I would go, then we would have to be thinking where is the next bathroom. Male Speaker: Sharon got used to her convoluted rules, but when she got married, she saw how it affected her husband. Sharon Vining: It was interrupting other people's lives too. Male Speaker: Sharon was seeing an acupuncturist for another problem when she mentioned her overactive bladder. Sharon Vining: Even after one treatment, I can tell the difference. Male Speaker: Doctor Sandra Emmons is an OB/GYN and a trained acupuncturist. She is studying the effects of acupuncture on overactive bladder. Dr. Sandra Emmons: Probably the acupuncture also inhibits the nervous contractions of the bladder. Male Speaker: In a small randomized study, while there was a decrease in the number of incontinent episodes in the acupuncture and control groups, the difference was not significant. However, the women who got acupuncture for overactive bladder, saw a 30% decrease in urgency and frequency. Dr. Sandra Emmons: So that horrible urge that they were going to leak, if they didn't get to the bathroom was significantly reduced. Male Speaker: R