Medications for Overactive Bladder

Do I need to take medication?

If you have tried changing the amount of fluid you drink, bladder retraining, and pelvic floor physical therapy, and you are still suffering from symptoms of urinary frequency and urgency, medication can be a good option for you. Medication is considered second line therapy for overactive bladder by the American Urologic Association. It can be very useful when more conservative options have not worked well enough. It is extremely important to consider your other medical conditions and medications prior to starting medication for overactive bladder.

How does the medication work?

Medication has a direct effect on the bladder receptors that tell your brain how much you need to urinate. Medication can facilitate keeping the bladder in a state where you are comfortable storing urine, instead of feeling like it is going to leak out if you don’t rush to the bathroom. It can give you the confidence to know you can go out without worrying you are going to leak, and you won’t have to be preoccupied by how close you are to the bathroom.

How long will I need to take medication?

It is recommended to take the medication for 4-6 weeks prior to deciding whether it is effective. If, after 6 weeks, you don’t feel improvement in your symptoms, or you are having a side effect, Dr. Kumar will discuss stopping the medication and exploring other options. If medication is working well for you Dr. Kumar will make an individualized plan to determine when you should try to come off of it.

Does medication have side effects?

There are two types of medication for overactive bladder. While all medications can have side effects, many people tolerate overactive bladder medications without side effects. For the more traditional medications, some of the more common side effects can be dry mouth or constipation. Currently there is research being conducted on whether one of the oldest forms of overactive bladder medication can increase risk for dementia in long-term users, and therefore Dr. Kumar tries to avoid using this medication. Luckily, there are many different brands of medications, Dr. Kumar will work with you until you find the right one.  Some are available in patch or gel form. If medications are not a good option for you, Dr. Kumar will discuss other therapies for overactive bladder, such as posterior tibial nerve stimulation, bladder botox, and interstim.

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