Overactive bladder: a common condition many women struggle with privately
(BPT) - Imagine having a common medical condition that requires you to plan around it and causes embarrassment and daily disruptions.
These repeated disruptions are common for women with overactive bladder, or OAB, with their symptoms causing frequent trips to the bathroom or worry over a leak from a sudden urge to urinate. Despite the toll OAB takes on those who have it, women often avoid speaking with their doctor and cope with their symptoms on their own.
Even though she does not have OAB, winner of The Biggest Loser Season 11, Olivia Ward has experience struggling with a condition privately. After dealing with weight issues and denying that she needed help for years, Olivia courageously decided to overcome her fears and get the help she needed by becoming a contestant on The Biggest Loser. Olivia is now able to help other women address their fears and use tools to overcome private struggles.
"I've listened to women talk about many health issues they've struggled with privately. I don't have OAB, but I can understand why women struggle. It's important for women to face the reality of their situation, be their own advocates and take action," says Olivia.
Coping in silence
More than 46 million adults in the United States experience OAB symptoms at least some of the time.
Despite this, the burden of the disease is often underestimated due to reluctance of OAB patients to seek medical attention. As few as one in five men and one in eight women with OAB symptoms, including urgency, a sudden need to urinate, frequency, urinating too often, and urinary incontinence, involuntary leakage, seek treatment.
"Women often hide their condition or become accustomed to using coping mechanisms due to a lack of awareness that OAB is a real, medical condition that should be discussed with a doctor," says Dr. Kathleen Kobashi, a board-certified urologist who treats OAB, chair of the OAB Medical Expert Advisory Panel for the Urology Care Foundation, the Official Foundation of the American Urology Association, and frequent speaker for their It's Time to Talk about OAB Initiative.
Some of the coping mechanisms people with OAB use include planning bathrooms trips, using feminine incontinence or hygiene products and avoiding social situations all together. These actions may provide temporary solutions to a much larger problem for which a trained medical professional should be consulted.
Options to manage OAB
Without the help of a doctor, it can become overwhelming to manage your symptoms. Dr. Kobashi gives advice for those burdened with the condition so they can feel empowered to initiate a discussion with their doctor.
"The OAB landscape has changed drastically in the past few years. Many educational resources, support tools and treatment options are now available for me to offer my patients, including behavioral modifications, prescription medications and medical procedures, alone or in combination, which allow me to create a customized plan for each of my patients. I would advise anyone experiencing OAB symptoms to talk to a health care professional about their symptoms and how to manage them. They will be able to provide a medical evaluation, diagnosis and personalized plan of action, if appropriate, that's right for them."
If you are experiencing OAB symptoms such as leakage, urgency or frequent urination, visit a health care professional to discuss a treatment plan that's right for you. For more information on the symptoms associated with OAB, visit www.OABReality.com.
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