Not surprisingly, because we don’t talk openly about overactive bladder, there are many misunderstandings about this troublesome problem. Here are some of the more common myths about OAB:
Are bladder problems just a normal part of aging?
Although overactive bladder symptoms are more common as people get older, it can happen at any age. Urinary incontinence is not a normal part of that process. If you find you often feel an urgent and overwhelming need to urinate, are making too many trips to the bathroom, and sometimes have leakages, you may have a bladder problem and should contact your GP for advice and treatment.
I’m relatively young – I can’t be suffering from OAB
Although it is most common in older individuals, OAB can affect people of all ages.
I’ll need to stay close to a toilet at all times
Bladder training techniques can help increase the time spent between toilet breaks, helping reduce the number of bathroom visits made. This technique also helps to reduce the occurrence of sudden urges to urinate so should help you focus on your daily activities rather than the location of the nearest toilet.
Overactive bladder is a woman’s disease
OAB is more common in women than in men – but only slightly so; large numbers of men suffer negative effects on their quality of life that could be alleviated by identifying and treating their condition.
Bladder symptoms in men indicate prostate disease
Urinary problems in men, especially older men, may be due to enlargement of the prostate, but this is far from being the case in all men. As noted above, men also commonly suffer from OAB.
Overactive bladder makes you leak when you laugh hard
Overactive bladder is a problem with the bladder-storage function that causes a sudden, strong urge to urinate, which sometimes cause accidents. Leaking urine when you laugh, cough, or exercise is a different condition, called stress incontinence. It's possible to have both conditions, however.
Having a small bladder causes overactive bladder
Bladder size does not contribute to OAB. Overactive bladder is caused by sudden and involuntary bladder contractions, which result in an overwhelming urge to urinate. While bladder size does not affect OAB in men, the size of their prostate might. An enlarged prostate may put pressure on the urethra and contribute to OAB symptoms
You need to drink less water to control an overactive bladder
It’s not healthy to drastically reduce the amount of water you drink. Although you'll make less urine, it may be more highly concentrated, which can irritate the bladder. As a result, you might actually need to urinate more often. Aim to drink six to eight cups of fluids spaced throughout the day.
There's nothing you can do about overactive bladder
It’s important to discuss symptoms of overactive bladder with your doctor because effective treatments are available. Simple changes in diet, pelvic muscle exercises, and bladder retraining, are very helpful in managing bladder problems. Medication may also be prescribed.