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What is Overactive Bladder? (OAB)

Is An Overactive Bladder Hurting Your Quality Of Life?

If you are suffering from an overactive bladder, you may feel the urge to go at unpredictable times throughout the day. You may not even be able to do the things you love anymore like enjoying a movie, sports, or a long dinner with family or friends without constantly worrying about having to use the bathroom multiple times. If you feel embarrassed, stressed, or limited in your social life, you are not alone.

Around 30% of men and 40% of women are estimated to struggle with OAB. The good news is that your overactive bladder doesn't have to control your life. You have treatment options. If you think you are suffering from OAB it's time to schedule with Dr. Hatchett today.

I am tired of my unpredictable bladder

What causes it?

A normal bladder, when full, notifies the brain that you need to urinate by sending signals through the nerves. Then, when you go to urinate, the muscles in your urethra and pelvic floor relax so that the bladder muscle can contract and push the urine out of the body.

An overactive bladder occurs when the nerves that signal the brain when it's time to urinate start sending signals even if the bladder isn't full. This leads to urine being pushed through the urethra involuntarily resulting in embarrassing leaks and incontinence. 

While the common causes of OAB vary and the cause of your OAB will need to be determined by a physician, there are a few common causes that include:

  • Aging
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke or similar neurological disorders
  • Tumors
  • Bladder stones

The symptoms may be similar but the causes of OAB in men and women can be different. 

Overactive bladder in men

The most common cause of OAB in men is an enlarged prostate. When the prostate becomes enlarged it can block the flow of urine. This means that your bladder must work harder to get the urine through the urethra and out of the body. As the prostate continues to enlarge, it puts even more pressure on the urethra and it becomes difficult for the body to determine if the bladder is full or not.

Overactive bladder in women

There are a few main causes of OAB in women including:

  • Pregnancy
  • Weakening pelvic muscle

Women may also suffer from mixed incontinence which is a combination of urgency and stress incontinence. Stress incontinence occurs when pressure put on the bladder results in leakage. Anything from exercising to laughing can cause it. Both types of incontinence may appear to be related but they both require different treatments.


You may suffer from several symptoms caused by your OAB including:

  • The need to urinate suddenly
  • An uncontrollable urge to urinate
  • Leakage
  • Frequent urination (usually more than 8 times per day)
  • The inability to sleep through the night without having to urinate

Many people will have the same symptoms, but they can differ between sexes. Learn more about the symptoms and how they may impact you here:

I want more info about OAB symptoms

How does diagnosis work?

Determining whether you have an overactive bladder can be as simple as listening to your symptoms. The real trick is determining the cause. To determine the true cause of your OAB we will need to evaluate you and some if not all of the following:

  • Medical history
  • Physical exam
  • Neuro exam
  • Urine sample
  • A bladder function test

After we collect the information we need, we can diagnose the cause of your OAB and discuss treatment plans that best fit your needs.

Treatment options for OAB and urinary incontinence

Can lifestyle changes help?

Changing your habits can be a natural way to control symptoms for people whose main issue causing their OAB is their lifestyle. For other people, lifestyle changes can bring some relief from urinary urgency but they may not help entirely. Lifestyle changes that can help with urgency include:

  • Dietary changes
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Exercising
  • Kegel exercise
  • Scheduled bathroom breaks

As stated above, lifestyle changes can help but they may not fix all the issues you are facing. Another treatment option is known as Sacral Neuromodulation Therapy from Axonics.

Overactive bladder treatment with Axonics

Axonics Therapy is a clinically proven solution for treating symptoms of overactive bladder (including urinary urgency incontinence), bowel (fecal) incontinence, and urinary retention.1  Axonics Therapy provides stimulation to the nerves that control the bladder and bowel, which can restore normal control and result in symptom improvement.

How can Axonics Therapy help me?

Suffering from OAB doesn't have to ruin your life

If you are suffering from an overactive bladder you don't have to give up on the things you love in life. At Dr. Hatchett Urology, we can diagnose the cause of your OAB and offer treatment options that best fit your needs.

I am ready to schedule

Important Safety Information:

Implantation and use of the Axonics System incur risks beyond those normally associated with surgery, some of which may necessitate surgical intervention. Results and experiences may vary and are unique to each patient. No promise or guarantee is made about specific results or experiences. Talk to your doctor about whether the Axonics System is right for you and to discuss the potential risks and benefits. For more information about safety and potential risks, go to: Federal law (USA) restricts this device to sale and use by, or on the order of, a physician.

  • Company data on file, ARTISAN·SNM Clinical Study (NCT03327948)

Dr. Lawrence Hatchett is here to serve you online, after hours, and weekends as your concierge urologic surgeon.

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