Overactive Bladder

Overview

You may have a condition called overactive bladder syndrome.

Overactive bladder syndrome is when you feel a sudden urge to urinate that is difficult to control.

Overactive bladder syndrome has a 30% overall incidence and it is more common among women. Fifty percent of males more than 70 years old and it is associated with prostate enlargement.

There have been more than 1 theory to explain the underlying cause to this condition.

Overactive bladder occurs when the muscles of the bladder start to contract involuntarily.

This involuntary contraction of the bladder results in the sensation of need to pass urine urgently. This can happen when the amount of urine in the bladder is low so you will notice only a small amount of urine is being passed out despite the urgency sensation.

Although most of the time the causes of overactive bladder is unknown (idiopathic), some underlying conditions can contribute to it. Neurological conditions such as post stroke, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes mellitus or abnormalities in the bladder such as bladder stones, urinary tract infections, enlarged prostates can contribute to overactive bladder symptoms.

Excessive consumption of caffeine containing fluids such as coffee, tea or alcohol can cause this as well.

Although aging is a risk factor of developing OAB, it shouldn’t be considered as normal part of aging.

Overactive Bladder Symptoms

  • Urgency – sensation to pass urine that is difficult to control
  • Leaking of urine (Incontinence) – involuntary leak of urine following an urgent need to pass urine. This usually happens when you can’t find a toilet in time
  • Frequency – having the need to pass urine more than 8 times in 24 hours
  • Waking up at night to pass urine (Nocturia) – having to wake up from sleep to pass urine

When to see a doctor

You should see a doctor if the symptoms are bothersome. It is also recommended that you see a doctor to rule out any underlying red flag causes to your symptoms.

Articles

In-depth article of overactive bladder