Research shows that half of adults with diabetes also have bladder issues. Chronic high blood sugar levels in diabetes can damage the nerves throughout the body, including the nerves that supply the bladder.
Signs of Overactive Bladder
Symptoms of overactive bladder include:
· An intense, sudden need to urinate
· Incontinence (involuntary leaking of urine)
· Frequent urination, meaning eight or more times per day
· Awakening two or more times per night to urinate
If you have these symptoms, talk to you doctor. It can be difficult to discuss something so personal with your doctor, but know that the condition is common and treatment can help.
Testing for Bladder Problems
First, your doctor will take your medical history and perform a physical exam. Next, he or she will rule out other conditions that can be causing your bladder issues. Your doctor will ask you for a urine sample and do a simple urinalysis. This test will check for signs of an infection or kidney problems.
If your doctor suspects overactive bladder, he or she will likely send you to a urologist‚ a doctor who specializes in urinary disorders. You’ll need one of the following tests:
Postvoid Residual Volume: This test checks if your bladder fully empties when you urinate. First, you will empty your bladder. Then, a flexible tube, called a catheter, will be inserted through your urethra and into your bladder. The catheter drains the remaining urine and measures it. Or you doctor may look for residual urine in the bladder using an ultrasound.
Bladder Stress Test: Your doctor will fill your bladder with a liquid, ask you to cough vigorously, and watch to see if you leak urine.
Ultrasound: An ultrasound uses sound waves to get a glimpse of your bladder and the rest of your urinary tract.
Cystoscopy: In this test, a thin, lighted instrument, called a cystoscope, is inserted through the urethra and into the bladder. This gives your doctor a close look at the inside of your bladder and urethra.
Urodynamic Testing: These tests measure bladder pressure and the flow of urine. However, they’re expensive and invasive so they’re usually only done on people who haven’t responded to treatment. Urodynamic tests include:
· Uroflowmetry. You will urinate in a uroflowmeter, a device that measures the volume and speed of your voiding, to see if you have an obstruction.
· Cystometry. A catheter fills the bladder with water or air. Another catheter that senses pressure is placed in your rectum or vagina, if you’re a woman. The test measures the pressure in the bladder and its surrounding areas as it fills. The test can indentify involuntary muscle contractions and bladder filling capacity.
· Voiding cystourethrogram. A dye is injected into your bladder through a catheter and X-rays are taken while you urinate. The X-rays can show structural abnormalities.