More than 33 million Americans suffer from overactive bladder, but that isn’t the only bladder issue effecting our country. Dr. Richard Garden, urologist with Pascack Valley Medical Group, is giving us an in depth look at bladder health: the types of bladder issues, the treatment options and what you can do to avoid developing bladder problems.
“Maintaining proper bladder health is a matter of recognizing potential issues that could arise and knowing when to address them,” said Garden. “If you are having symptoms that relate to bladder discomfort like frequency of pain, burning, discoloration or blood in the urine, be proactive and seek medical attention. The sooner you see a doctor the sooner a possible treatment plan can be put in place.”
Dietary items oftentimes cause bladder issues. “If your diet consists of a lot of caffeine – coffee, soda, tea – you could start to experience problems,” said Garden. “Alcohol is another indicator of increased frequency of urination. Some patients find that foods that have a high sodium or spice content have also increased their urination frequency. Try eliminating these things from your diet if you feel they could be causing issues.”
Garden sees a plethora of bladder issues, all which have different causes. “As a urologist, the most important thing is to identify the problem of each patient,” said Garden. “There’s a whole spectrum of bladder disorders, from bladder cancer and urinary tract infections to overactive bladder and urinary incontinence. There are also neurogenic bladder issues that are based on central nervous system matters, which is a common problem in the elderly population. Things like cognitive dysfunction, early onset dementia and strokes can also have negative effects on bladder function. If we can make a diagnosis or filter through the symptoms you are having, we can move forward with a treatment plan.”
Bladder issues can require a diverse set of treatments. “Treatment for bladder cancer is going to be much different and more complex than treatment for incontinence or an infection, all of which are offered at Pascack Valley,” said Garden. “Treatments range from lifestyle and diet modifications to prescribed medications that can treat the specific problem.”
New treatment options are consistently becoming available, most recently one for nocturia, a condition that causes you to wake up during the night when you need to urinate. “In the last year, the FDA approved a new medication specifically aimed at treating Nocturia, which is oftentimes difficult to treat,” said Garden. “The medication that was approved is a nasal spray that decreases your urine output at night. There are many things that can cause you to get up during the middle of the night to urinate and it can be very disruptive to your sleep and cause poor functionality during the day. Nocturia is especially dangerous for elderly patients, as it can lead to them falling during the night. For the right person, this medication could be the solution they’ve been looking for.”
Staying open to exploring treatments and different efforts is something Garden encourages all patients to do. “If you are dissatisfied, seek care because there are things we offer that could help with your issues,” said Garden.
To learn more about urology services, visit pascackmedicalgroup.com.