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Options if Overactive Bladder Drugs Don't Work

By EmpowHER March 20, 2012 - 1:19pm
Photo: Getty Images

You did everything right. You took charge and saw your doctor about your bladder symptoms. You were diagnosed as having overactive bladder (OAB). So, following your doctor’s directions, you modified your diet and the amount and timing of what you drank. You dutifully did your Kegel exercises. But it wasn’t enough. Then, you received a prescription for a drug to control your symptoms. Maybe it worked. Maybe it didn’t. Maybe the side effects were too much. So you try another drug and maybe another. In the end, maybe you find a drug that works for you. But what if you don’t?

While drugs can be an easy and effective way to control OAB symptoms, a large number of patients aren’t able to deal with the associated side effects which may include sedation, negative cognitive effects, dry mouth, constipation and headaches. In fact, in one study of more than 23,000 patients with OAB symptoms, about 60 percent had stopped drug therapy within 90 days and over 80 percent stopped before one year.”1

Your quest for a successful OAB treatment doesn’t have to stop with drugs. Even if your doctor does not offer additional treatments beyond behavior and drug therapies, there are other effective treatments available from specialists such as urologists, urogynecologists and gynecologists. Don’t give up hope! Contact a specialist to learn more about these and other options:

Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation (PTNS): PTNS is a reversible, low-risk, non-surgical option that indirectly stimulates the nerves responsible for your bladder function. Treatment is effective in 60 – 80 percent of patients. During treatment, a slim needle electrode is placed near the nerve at your ankle known as the tibial nerve. The stimulator is connected to the electrode and sends mild electrical pulses to the tibial nerve. These impulses travel to the sacral plexus, the group of nerves at the base of the spine responsible for bladder function. PTNS therapy is delivered in a series of 12 weekly, 30-minute office visits, during which you will rest comfortably in a chair. Occasional treatments (usually once every 1-3 months) are generally needed to sustain results.

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I have OAB and none of the medications worked. I have done Kegel exercises regularly and nothing helps. I get up 4 or 5 times during the night, if i lay still i'm ok, but as soon as i have to turn around i get the urge to go. I hate it, i can't go anywhere without constantly have to go. I would not ever resort the having surgery on my bladder or any device implanted either. I have chronic hypertension and there has to be something that is causing this. No dr seems to know. Anonymous

April 22, 2013 - 5:27pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Dr.'s no nothing!!! I had two surgeries, completed all the varies of meds, and excercises and I think I pee so much now, I do not even
bother to go to be til midnight, because I am sure will get a least 4 hours of solid sleep before my bladder alarm clock in my body goes off. For me this overactive bladder of mine is a disability because Physician claim to be able to treat this problem, but yet with me they have failed and I am prisioner of a toilet.

August 5, 2014 - 1:34am
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