Office of Research & Development

 

Overactive bladder responds well to behavioral therapy

Researchers with the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center at the Birmingham (Ala.) VA Medical Center found that behavioral therapy works as well as a commonly used drug treatment to help men with overactive bladder, a condition in which the bladder muscles have spasms, resulting in incontinence. The study involved 143 middle-aged and older men at two VA sites. All were on alpha blockers, a muscle-relaxing drug treatment, but were not seeing enough relief. As an add-on therapy, the study compared an additional medication—oxybutynin, which also has a muscle-relaxing effect—against behavioral therapy. The behavioral therapy included pelvic floor muscle exercises, urge-suppression techniques, and delayed voiding exercises. This non-drug approach proved as effective as oxybutynin as an adjunct to alpha blockers. The researchers say it provides a useful non-drug approach that can be taught by nurses, nurse practitioners, and physical therapists. (Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, December 2011)