About Overactive Bladder
Overactive bladder is a urinary problem that can impact everyday activities. People who suffer from overactive bladder often feel embarrassed, which can cause them to become isolated from others at work or in their personal lives.
What is Overactive Bladder?
Overactive bladder is a dysfunction with bladder storage that causes a sudden urge to urinate. This urge, which can be difficult or impossible control, sometimes leads to incontinence (involuntary urine loss).
What Are the Risk Factors Overactive Bladder?
The specific cause of overactive bladder is unknown; however, there are common factors that play a role.
Age is one of the most common risk factors in overactive bladder. Although overactive bladder is common in older adults, bladder dysfunction is not considered by doctors to be a normal part of aging.
There are other conditions that also put people at risk for bladder dysfunction, including certain diseases and disorders like diabetes and enlarged prostate. Additionally, people with cognitive problems, like Alzheimer’s disease or stroke are more like to experience symptoms of overactive bladder.
What are the Symptoms of Overactive Bladder?
As the name suggests, overactive bladder leads to frequent and urgent urination.
Many symptoms are common:
Frequent urination, typically 8 times or more in a day
Sudden urge to urinate that is difficult to control
Urge incontinence (the involuntary loss of urine after the urgent need to urinate)
Sleep disruption due to the need to urinate
What are the Causes of Overactive Bladder?
When the bladder is functioning properly, nerve signals alert the brain as it fills with urine causing the urge to urinate. However, overactive bladder occurs when the bladder’s muscles begin to contract involuntarily.
Many conditions contribute to overactive bladder:
High urine production from high fluid intake, diabetes, or poor kidney function
Medications that increase urine production
Obstruction to urine flow, like constipation, enlarged prostate or surgical scars
Neurological symptoms from diseases like Parkinson’s, stroke, Alzheimer’s, or dementia
Tumors, bladder stones, or other bladder abnormalities
Excessive caffeine or alcohol use
Acute urinary tract infections
When Should You See a Doctor?
Some people believe overactive bladder is a normal part of aging—but it isn’t. If symptoms begin interfering with work, personal activities, and everyday tasks, a doctor should be consulted. Although many people find it difficult to discuss, treatments <<Link to Treatments of Overactive Bladder post #2>>are available to alleviate the symptoms.
What Can Happen if Overactive Bladder is Not Treated?
Overactive bladder can dramatically impact one’s quality of life and can be treated. If left untreated, the urge and urge-related incontinence can suffer from emotional distress, depression and poor quality of sleep.
Women with overactive bladder can also experience stress incontinence, a disorder that causes loss of urine when physical stress or pressure occurs on the bladder during activities such as jumping, laughing, or running.
Jean Brown Research is conducting a clinical research study for an investigational medication for individuals with an overactive bladder. Study participants that are 18 and older may receive study medication, evaluation by a qualified physician at no cost, and may be compensated for the time and travel. Find out if you are eligible for the overactive bladder study here.