Overactive Bladder Specialist Washington DC

What causes an overactive bladder? This can be something simple, like a bladder infection, or chronic, like interstitial cystitis (meaning chronic inflammation of the bladder wall), or even a sign of nerve damage as in multiple sclerosis. How to deal with it? Read on to find the answer.

Jonathan L White, MD
(301) 258-1919
15225 Shady Grove Rd
Rockville, MD
Business
Urological Consultants
Specialties
Urology

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Ariyasinghe Edmund Kulatilake, MD
1856 Mintwood Pl NW Apt 5
Washington, DC
Specialties
Urology
Gender
Male
Education
Graduation Year: 2007

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Leon R Culbertson, MD FACS
1780 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Virginia
Graduation Year: 1936

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Paul Ray Shin
(202) 223-1024
2021 K St Nw
Washington, DC
Specialty
Urology

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Irwin Shuman, MD
(202) 223-1024
2021 K St NW Ste 408
Washington, DC
Specialties
Urology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Georgetown Univ Sch Of Med, Washington Dc 20007
Graduation Year: 1959
Hospital
Hospital: Sibley Mem Hosp, Washington, Dc; George Washington Univ Hosp, Washington, Dc
Group Practice: Urologic Surgeons-Washington

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Leon R Culbertson, MD
1780 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC
Specialties
Urology
Gender
Male
Education
Graduation Year: 2007

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Michael Howarde Phillips
(202) 223-1024
2021 K St Nw
Washington, DC
Specialty
Urology

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Jason Douglas Engel, MD
(202) 223-1024
2021 K St NW Ste 408
Washington, DC
Specialties
Urology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Pa Sch Of Med, Philadelphia Pa 19104
Graduation Year: 1993

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Irwin Shuman
(202) 223-1024
2021 K St Nw
Washington, DC
Specialty
Urology

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Chiledum A Ahaghotu, MD
(202) 865-7720
2041 Georgia Ave NW Ste 4C02
Washington, DC
Specialties
Urology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Nigeria, Coll Of Med, Enugu, Anambra, Nigeria
Graduation Year: 1989

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Overactive Bladder

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By Mark Hyman, MD

Q I’m a healthy, athletic, middle-aged woman with a bathroom problem. I suddenly have the urge to “go” as many as a dozen times a day. What’s wrong with me?

Overactive bladders can be more than a nuisance because they can interfere with living a normal life. While medications like Detrol can calm an overactive bladder, you really want to find out the cause of the problem, address it directly, and hopefully resolve the issue rather than taking medications indefinitely.

So what causes an overactive bladder? This can be something simple, like a bladder infection, or chronic, like interstitial cystitis (meaning chronic inflammation of the bladder wall), or even a sign of nerve damage as in multiple sclerosis.

The most obvious is a bacterial bladder infection, and a simple urine test can determine if you have one. If you do, you can take a short course of antibiotics or use herbal remedies such as cranberry or uva ursi. Bladder infections often occur after sex. So empty your bladder right after intercourse for a modicum of protection.

Other causes often get overlooked. The most common are undiagnosed food sensitivities. A food elimination diet can help here. Try stopping gluten (wheat), dairy, yeast, eggs, corn, soy, and nuts for a week and then adding them back in your diet one food at a time so you can see if it’s the cause.

Food additives also pose potential problems. Aspartame and foods preservatives and additives rank high on the list of potential culprits. If there is an ingredient on a label you don’t recognize as a food don’t eat it.

Hidden yeast infections can also cause an irritable bladder. These are often overlooked and left untreated for years. If you’ve had numerous courses of antibiotics or take birth control pills or other forms of estrogen, taken steroids like prednisone, or if you currently eat a diet high in flour and sugar, you may have developed an overgrowth of yeast. It won’t show up on a urine test.


Herbal or prescription anti-fungals and probiotics can provide effective treatment. Useful herbs include berberine, garlic, oregano, and undecylenic acid and plant tannins. Common prescriptions include nystatin, Diflucan or Sporanox. These sometimes need to be taken for a month or more to get rid of the yeast. Cutting down on sugar and flour, staying away from antibiotics, and taking a good probiotic (healthy bacteria) daily can keep this problem from recurring.

Nutritional deficiencies can also cause an overactive bladder. Magnesium deficiency can cause any part of the body to cramp or spasm, including the bladder. Try taking 200 to 600 mg of magnesium citrate or glycinate daily and see if it helps. Vitamin B12 deficiency can mimic symptoms of multiple sclerosis, one of which is bladder spasms. Have your doctor check the methylmalonic acid level in your blood—it’s a much more sensitive indicator of deficiency than your vitamin B12 level. You might need B12 under the tongue or even injections to...

Author: Mark Hyman, MD

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