An overactive bladder is also known as the “urge to pee” condition; this can cause frequent trips to the bathroom and embarrassing accidents. The MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) is considering whether to approve the drug, known as Aquiette, so that it can be available without a prescription. Before the MHRA does so, they ask the women and the doctors for their opinion on the matter. It would be the first time that a treatment for the disease has been available without a prescription.
Speaking on the move, MHRA’s Dr Laura Squire said: ‘For many women, an overactive bladder can make day-to-day life extremely difficult.
“It can impact relationships, work, social life, and it can lead to anxiety and depression. Fortunately, there are treatments, and starting today, you’ll have the possibility of saying whether any of these treatments may be available for the first time without a prescription.
Meanwhile, Maria Caulfield, Minister for Women’s Health added: “When it comes to sensitive issues such as bladder control, speaking to a GP may prevent some women from seeking help.
“Aquiette’s upgrade would allow women to access lifesaving medicines without the need for a prescription.”
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An overactive bladder is not the only type of incontinence condition.
Other forms of the disease include stress incontinence, urge incontinence, overflow incontinence and total incontinence.
Moreover, it is also possible to have a mixture of different types of incontinence.
In any case, each can embarrass the person with the disease.
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However, there are treatments and ways to relieve the symptoms of each form of incontinence.
For example, the NHS recommends lifestyle changes including:
• Reduce caffeine intake
• Modification of daily fluid intake
• Losing weight.
Other non-surgical treatments are pelvic floor and bladder muscle training, electrical stimulation, biofeedback, and vaginal cones.
The pelvic floor is crucial to the process of urinating as muscles “surround the bladder and urethra (the tube that carries urine from your bladder out of your body) and control the flow of urine when you urinate”, said the NHS.
Therefore, the stronger these muscles are, the better an individual will be able to control the flow of urine.
Studies have shown that this form of training helps people with a form of incontinence.
Meanwhile, electrical stimulation is also another method to relieve the condition.
During the procedure, a small probe is inserted into the anus or vagina, and an electric current is passed through the probe so that the muscles can be strengthened while the person in question exercises them.
Although the idea of this procedure may be distasteful, the NHS says “it may be beneficial if you are unable to complete pelvic floor muscle contractions without it”.
A less invasive technique is bladder training whereby a person learns to increase the time between feeling the need to urinate and urinating.
More information about incontinence treatments and conditions can be found on the NHS website.