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Ask the Expert:

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ Chirasakdi Ratanawong, M.D.
Chirasakdi Ratanawong, M.D.
Sees patients at Marshfield Clinic Centers in Weston, Wausau and Mosinee

Question: What is overactive bladder and how do you treat it?​

More than 33 million Americans deal with overactive bladder, a condition that prevents them from controlling when and how much they urinate.

You may experience unexpected small or large leaks or you may have to use the restroom frequently.

In some cases, you may have a strong urge to urinate every 15 to 30 minutes, making it difficult to engage in activities or work. Many people with this problem become socially isolated due to their embarrassment.

We have a number of ways to treat overactive bladder. We usually start with mild biofeedback and behavior modification techniques.

If these are not successful, we have a number of medications to choose from, depending on your situation. Some of these are available as creams or patches placed on the skin.

When all of these approaches have failed, we consider using a procedure called sacral nerve stimulation, or Interstim therapy.​

This involves implanting a device under the skin near the tailbone, which sends a mild electrical signal to the nerves leading to the bladder.

We first test patients with a temporary device to make sure they are candidates for the implantation.

This is not a first-line therapy; we reserve it for those who cannot be helped in any other way.

Marshfield Clinic provides urology care​ in a number of our centers. Your primary care doctor can refer you to the appropriate specialty and location.

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