Overactive Bladder Treatment Options

An overactive bladder is an often-chronic health condition that affects thousands of people every year. Sometimes it happens due to a consequence of other health conditions such as diabetes or inflammation of the spine. However, it could also happen due to other medical causes such as aging.

Men and women of any age can be diagnosed with an overactive bladder. It can mean:

  • that you can't go more than an hour or less without having to rush to the bathroom
  • can lead to very uncomfortable social situations
  • a sharp decline in quality of life for anyone diagnosed with the condition
  • lead to incontinence or accidents, which is often a source of embarrassment for those with the condition

Overactive Bladder Treatment Options When Oral Medication Isn't Working

A simple oral medication taken daily is one of the first ways in which doctors choose to treat an overactive bladder. The good news is that it's an effective treatment for the condition in the majority of cases, but it doesn't work for everyone who tries.

Have you started taking medication for an overactive bladder and you realize that it doesn't help?

Depending on the cause (which can be pretty varied), medication alone might not be effective in controlling the symptoms of an overactive bladder.

Here's what to do if medication to control the condition isn't doing the trick. Here are some of the alternatives that a doctor might consider if this is the case.

See Your Doctor

Never stop or start any medication without consulting your doctor first. Should you suspect that treatment for your condition isn't working the way it should, see your doctor again and note what you have been experiencing.

From there, your doctor can decide whether to change the medication, alter the dose or consider another alternative treatment that might have the intended effect.

Sometimes, more tests might be required at this point to establish the cause of the condition and what treatments might follow it.

The first step to treatment and proper diagnosis is always to see your doctor first.

Kegel Exercises

Muscle weakness or degradation are some of the most common causes of what appears to be an overactive bladder but is mostly due to changes in the muscle that causes increased urination.

Where the muscles of the pelvic floor are the reason for the symptom, one of the first recommended treatments before surgery is exercise.

Simple, daily kegel exercises can help to strengthen the pelvic floor over a long period of time - and could help some of the symptoms of what is thought to be an overactive bladder to stay under control.

This might still be combined with medication, or might require surgery if kegel exercises alone don't achieve the intended result or a reduction in symptoms.

Changes in Fluid

If you are drinking too much water or diuretics like cranberry juice or coffee, it might have an adverse effect on an overactive bladder. It might mean that the medications you are taking for it become ineffective as a result.

Changes in your fluid intake (and a very close look at what you are taking in) can be one of the first alternative treatments that a doctor recommends if the medication isn't doing what it should.

Weight Loss

An overactive bladder can also happen due to being overweight; in this case, medication alone might not be an effective treatment for the condition - and weight loss will be the first recommended treatment from there, usually in combination with medication to take care of the associated symptoms.

This isn't a quick process but can take several different steps including:

  • medication
  • exercise
  • dietary changes

Might have more effect on an overactive bladder than medication alone.

Dietary Changes

Sometimes dietary changes might be the cause of inflammation and swelling. This inflammation and swelling are what triggers the pressure which worsens an overactive bladder. Should dietary changes be found as the potential cause of an overactive bladder, the expertise of a dietary expert is likely to be called in next so that the most necessary adaptations can be made.

In the case of weight loss (described earlier in this article), dietary changes together with an expert might also be required in order to achieve better health.


Depending on the potential cause of an overactive bladder, when medication isn't working, surgery might be the next step forward. Where medication and other alternative treatments don't work, surgery might be the only way to reliably control the condition. In the majority of cases, the surgery is minor and the condition should go away (together with any associated symptoms) after the surgery has been done.

Spinal Conditions

There are many cases where an overactive bladder is simply diagnosed as a consequence of getting older or muscles getting weaker over time, but sometimes an overactive bladder can also be caused directly by inflammation of the spine.

In the case where a spinal condition causes the symptoms of an overactive bladder, medication might not be effective. Seeing your doctor once every few months is imperative to achieving better health.

A spinal condition has to be treated as an individual condition before anything that shows up as a symptom gets any better.

Sometimes anti-inflammatory medication could reduce the inflammation causing the pressure and help when combined with the correct additional treatments.

Diagnosis of Other Conditions

An overactive bladder could also be a potential consequence of other health conditions that includes a vast list of conditions such as diabetes through to kidney or liver infections.

If medication for an overactive bladder isn't doing what it should be, then an underlying condition might be causing the overactive bladder as a symptom - and there might be another condition that has to be treated.

Conditions such as these can be serious. This is why it's always important to see your doctor where treatments you are following don't have the intended effect.

Adult Pediatric Urology & Urogynecology, PC | Urologists Omaha & Council Bluffs, IA

Adult Pediatric Urology, PC has 7 board-certified physicians and attentive, dedicated staff. We have served Nebraska and Iowa since 1982 with two locations in Omaha and Council Bluffs. Our Omaha location includes an accredited outpatient surgical center with state-of-the-art equipment and a comfortable waiting area just minutes from Interstate 680. Our physicians successfully perform hundreds of traditional and no-scalpel vasectomies every year.


The attentive, compassionate physicians, providers and staff at Adult Pediatric Urology & Urogynecology are committed to providing innovative, quality patient care in our state-of-the-art facility. From screening and prevention to treatment and recovery, we will be there for you.


At Adult Pediatric Urology & Urogynecology, we don’t want the billing and insurance system to stand in the way of getting the care you or a loved one needs.


We specialize in urological disorders, including conditions, diseases, and urological cancers of the prostatebladder, and kidneyfemale urologypediatric urologysexual medicine, and clinical research.

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