Common OAB Complications

Erica Sanderson | June 6, 2014

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Overactive bladder (OAB) is a disease that can lead to several related problems. Here’s what to be aware of and how to prevent them.

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Falls

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When you gotta go, you need to get to a bathroom stat. But rushing to relieve your bladder, especially in the middle of the night in the dark, can be dangerous. Trips and falls can lead to serious injuries, especially for elderly people who have frail bones. Put a nightlight in the hallway and bedroom and clear a pathway to the bathroom before going to bed.

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Bacterial infections

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Our urinary tract is susceptible to harmful bacteria. If it’s not clean, bacterial and urinary tract infections (UTI) can occur. Untreated UTIs can travel up to the kidneys. Keep your catheter clean, if you have one, and change out of any soggy undergarments ASAP. Look into using sterilizing washcloths and always wipe from front to back. Consult with your doctor if you exhibit any signs of infection.

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Dehydration

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People limit their water consumption falsely believing it will help their OAB. This can cause dehydration. Drinking large amounts can trigger more voiding. But you need to drink small amounts throughout the day. It takes some trial and error to figure out the amount of water consumption that’s right for you. Ask your doctor about the recommended liquid consumption rate for OAB patients.

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Depression and anxiety

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OAB doesn’t just affect your physical health; it also affects your mental and emotional health. Some people develop anxiety over managing the condition. Others experience depression due to stigma and social limitations. Don’t ignore these feelings. Speak with a mental health professional and learn how to cope with OAB through healthy practices.

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Fatigue

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If you have OAB, you most likely also have nocturia. This is when you get up to urinate at least twice in one night. Constantly getting up and down through the night disrupts sleep, causing fatigue. Limit your liquid intake a few hours before bedtime and relax for a bit before turning the light off. If your nocturia is severely affecting your sleep, speak with your doctor about treatment options.

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Skin rashes and sores

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Urine against the skin for long or recurring periods of time can result in skin rashes and sores. Again, keep your pelvic area as clean as possible and don’t stay in urine-soaked clothing for long. If you see a rash or sore, contact your doctor.