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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

46% of Black Women Say They've Experienced Having an Overactive Bladder

About 33 million Americans have overactive bladders. Thirty percent of all men and 40 percent of all women in the United States live with OAB symptoms, according to the Urology Care Foundation. But the incident rate is higher among African American women.

What is overactive bladder?

Overactive bladder (OAB) is not a disease but a condition that produces a sudden, strong urge to urinate that you can’t control. It's the inability to control the release of urine from the bladder. It affects people by frequent urination, especially at night, and leaking. According to the National Institutes of Health (NHI), the prevalence of OAB at least "sometimes" was highest in African American women (46 percent) according to a Epidemiology of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms survey.

What causes OAB?

OAB can be caused by weak pelvic muscles due to childbirth and damage to the bladder muscles due to disease or trauma. Women who have gone through menopause and men who have had prostate diseases are at greater risk for OAB. Neurological diseases such as stroke and multiple sclerosis (MS) can also increase the risk for OAB.

How can OAB be treated?

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, the first thing to do is go see your doctor and get diagnosed. He or she can help by prescribing medicine that will calm the muscles and nerves. Other treatments that can be effective on OAB include pelvic exercises that will strengthen the muscles. Your doctor may also advise you to lose weight if you are obese. Obesity puts more pressure on the bladder. Changing your diet can also help. Drinks that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea and certain soft drinks may need to be eliminated because the caffeine will cause you to urinate more often.

For more information on overactive bladder, visit
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