What Are the Basics of Overactive Bladder?

What is overactive bladder?

Overactive bladder means that you have a sudden and urgent need to urinate many times a day. And you may also suffer with urge incontinence, that is to say, your bladder may leak involuntary. Overactive bladder may bring you lots of embarrassment and inconvenience.

What are the symptoms of overactive bladder?

If you have overactive bladder, you may experience:

  • Have an urge to urinate.
  • Nocturia, get up to urinate 2 or more times a night.
  • Urinate frequently, usually 8 or more times in 24 hours.
  • Urge incontinence, urine leaks immediately following an urge to urinate.

What causes overactive bladder?

Many conditions can lead to overactive bladder, the common causes include:

  • Nerve damage.
    The damaged nerve may send signals to your brine and contract the muscles of the bladder at the wrong time. Following conditions may cause damage to nerves:
    herniated disc
  • Overweight.
  • Weak pelvic muscles.
  • Urinary tract infections.
  • Cognitive decline due to aging.
  • Excess consumption of caffeine or alcohol.
  • Medications. Some medications contain caffeine may affect the nerve signals and cause the muscles of the bladder to work abnormally.

How is overactive bladder diagnosed?

In order to diagnose overactive bladder, your doctor will ask your symptoms, medical history and then do a physical exam. Your doctor will check your abdomen and genitals, and ask you to provide a urine sample for further tests.
In addition to above tests, you may be required to do some special tests to help your doctor assess the function of your bladder. The special tests include:

  • Testing bladder pressures.
  • Measuring urine flow rate.
  • Measuring urine left in the bladder.

What is the treatment of overactive bladder?

The possible treatments include:

Behavioral interventions.

  • Pelvic floor muscle exercises.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Scheduled toilet trips.
  • Intermittent catheterization.
  • Bladder training.

Bladder injections.

Inject small doses of OnabotulinumtoxinA(Botox) into your bladder to partially paralyzes muscles.


  • Tolterodine (Detrol, Detrol LA)
  • Oxybutynin (Ditropan XL)
  • Oxybutynin as a skin patch (Oxytrol)
  • Oxybutynin gel (Gelnique, Gelnique 3%)
  • Trospium (Sanctura)
  • Solifenacin (Vesicare)
  • Darifenacin (Enablex)
  • Mirabegron (Myrbetriq)
  • Fesoterodine (Toviaz)


  • Increase bladder capacity, to replace a portion of your bladder by pieces of your bowel.
  • Bladder removal, to remove the bladder and construct a replacement bladder or an opening in the body and attach a bag on the skin to collect your urine.

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.