Biofeedback: What Is It, and How Can It Help Control Overactive Bladders?
Men with overactive bladders experience powerful and frequent urges to urinate throughout the day and night. While this might not sound like a serious health issue, in reality, this is a condition that can severely impact a man’s quality of life, sleep, and social activities. Men should be able to experience relief for several hours after emptying their bladder rather than having to let trips to the bathroom dictate their schedules and activities.
Fortunately, there are several treatment options for a nagging bladder, including biofeedback therapy, InterStim implants, and other options. At Advanced Urology, we can determine the underlying cause of your overactive bladder and find the right treatment plan for you and your health.
Let’s explore the causes and symptoms of an overactive bladder and outline the possible treatment options our team can help with for your situation.
What Causes an Overactive Bladder?
Approximately 30% of men in the United States suffer from symptoms of an overactive bladder. It’s a common condition that affects many people, and there are a wide variety of causes and factors that can contribute to an overactive bladder.
Our team explores all possible causes of an overactive bladder to better help treat a patient’s symptoms. Causes we often see include:
- Urinary tract infections
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Sleep disorders
- Nerve conductor issues
- Not fully emptying the bladder
- Enlarged prostate glands
- Neurological disorders
On top of these causes, there are also risk factors that can increase one’s likelihood of experiencing an overactive bladder. Drinking alcohol, excessive fluids, or caffeine, especially close to bedtime, can lead to an overactive bladder. Spicy foods and foods made with tomatoes have also been linked to bladder irritation and increase the frequency of urination.
Symptoms of an Overactive Bladder
Speak to your doctor about overactive bladder treatment options if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Sudden and uncontrollable urge to urinate
- Occurrence of leakage when the urge to urinate arises
- Experiencing the urge to urinate multiple times for example, more than eight times in a 24-hour period
- Emptying the bladder and then feeling the sudden urge to urinate again
If the urge to urinate wakes you two or more times throughout the night, you could be experiencing nocturia. An overactive bladder can cause severe disruptions to sleep and lead to feelings of exhaustion, fatigue, and a decrease in quality of life. Furthermore, an overactive bladder can disrupt your sex life and cause intimacy issues with your partner.
Many men do not pursue treatment for an overactive bladder, believing that the symptoms will reduce on their own over time. However, this is not always the case, and untreated conditions can worsen over time. Rather than suffering from an overactive bladder and the burden it adds to your life, speak to a doctor about your treatment options.
What Is Biofeedback?
We have control over certain bodily functions. When we want to, we can lift our legs to take a step or raise our hand if we have a question. Although we don’t have to consciously think to do these things, our body responds to what our brain wants it to do.
On the other hand, there are certain bodily functions that we don’t have control over. We don’t try to make our hearts beat faster when we’re nervous, and we can’t force ourselves to not sweat when we exercise. Other systems control these involuntary functions in our bodies.
However, it is possible to gain more control over these normally involuntary bodily functions. With the use of biofeedback, we can learn how to treat and manage conditions such as migraines, incontinence, and even overactive bladders.
Biofeedback is a type of assisted behavioral therapy that uses education and measuring devices to help people gain awareness and control over certain bodily functions. Biofeedback therapists can teach patients how to gain control over their bladders and the muscles engaged during urination.
How Does Biofeedback Work?
Biofeedback uses electrodes to gather information on the body’s urinary functions. While engaging in a series of pelvic floor exercises, the electrodes can determine whether or not the patient is contracting the correct muscles. By analyzing these results, doctors can then provide tailored guidance to the patient on how to better control these functions.
When paired with pelvic floor exercises, biofeedback helps ensure you’re correctly working the muscles needed to control urination rather than the abdominal muscles. Depending on your symptoms and situation, the number of sessions of biofeedback required to help you reduce bladder overactivity may vary.
Studies have found that biofeedback can improve bladder control by as much as 94%. It is often used as part of the first-line defense for people suffering from an overactive bladder.
What Are Other Treatment Options for an Overactive Bladder?
In addition to biofeedback, there are other treatment options that your doctor may recommend for an overactive bladder:
- Bladder Botox injections: Botox botulinum toxin injections help reduce the symptoms of an overactive bladder. The Botox is injected into the detrusor muscle in the bladder wall to reduce overactivity.
- Electroacupuncture: Electroacupuncture involves the use of electrical devices to stimulate the sacral vertebra to improve symptoms of incontinence.
- Pelvic floor muscle training: Your doctor may pair pelvic floor muscle training with biofeedback to help you gain better control over your bladder function. Pelvic floor muscle training reduces nocturia and the urgency and frequency of urination.
- InterStim implant for bladder control: InterStim therapy treats overactive bladder symptoms. An InterStim implant stimulates the sacral nerves that control the bladder. InterStim therapy helps these nerves better communicate with the brain for improved bladder control. The device can be turned off or removed at any time.
How Advanced Urology Can Help with an Overactive Bladder
If you need relief from an overactive bladder, speak to the team at Advanced Urology. Our medical professionals can diagnose the issue, explore the underlying causes, and recommend a treatment plan that is right for you and your health.
Whether it’s pelvic floor muscle training, biofeedback, or another treatment option, you have options at your disposal to reduce and eliminate symptoms of an overactive bladder. Take control back over your life by contacting Advanced Urology today.