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Overactive Bladder

Overactive Bladder: Introduction

Overactive bladder is a common condition of the bladder in which there is a pressing, and/or rapid and urgent sensation of needing to urinate. This feeling of urgency may or may not occur frequently and can be difficult to control, resulting in urinary incontinence (the involuntary loss of control of the urine).

Overactive bladder can lead to frequent "accidents" that negatively affect a person's self esteem and ability to work, attend school, socialize, travel or complete other normal activities of daily living. A constant fear of incontinence can also lead to not drinking enough fluids, resulting in serious dehydration, especially in older adults. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of overactive bladder.

Overactive bladder is most common in older adults and women. About 25 million adult Americans experience transient or ongoing urinary incontinence and 75-80% of them are women. In addition, one in four women over the age of 18 experience episodes of leaking urine involuntarily, according to the National Association for Continence.

The bladder is an organ in the lower abdomen that expands like a balloon to store liquid waste products in the form of urine. In healthy people, the kidneys continuously filter the bloodstream and create a constant flow of urine into the bladder. The "storage" capability of the bladder allows people to hold then eliminate urine waste when it is generally convenient and "on command".

This process happens when nerve signals in the brain tell the muscles around the bladder and the urethra to relax to allow urine to flow. There are many factors that can disrupt the intricate and interconnected processes of the organs, muscles, and nerves that is necessary to maintain urinary continence (voluntary flow of urine). These include excessive fluid intake, childbirth, urinary tract infection, spinal cord injury, bladder irritation, bladder cancer, and some neurological diseases.

Making a diagnosis of overactive bladder includes completing a complete medical evaluation and history and physical examination. Diagnostic testing can include a urine analysis, which evaluates a number of elements in the urine and can determine if a urinary tract infection is present. There are also a wide variety of radiological and ultrasound tests, usually ordered by an urologist, that are used to evaluate the functioning of the bladder.

It is possible that a diagnosis of overactive bladder can be missed or delayed because symptoms may be mild and not reported to the health care provider for other reasons. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of overactive bladder.

With an individualized treatment plan that best fits the type and severity of overactive bladder and a person's life style, overactive bladder can often be successfully treated. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of overactive bladder. ...more »

Overactive Bladder: Overactive bladder is condition of the bladder in the urinary tract in which there is a pressing, and/or rapid and urgent sensation of needing to urinate. This feeling of urgency may or may not occur frequently and can be difficult to control, resulting in urinary incontinence (the involuntary loss of control of the urine). Serious problems with overactive bladder leading to frequent "accidents" can negatively affect a person's self esteem and ability to work, attend school, socialize, travel or complete other normal activities of daily living. A constant fear of incontinence can also lead to not drinking enough fluids resulting in serious dehydration, especially in older adults. Overactive bladder resulting in urinary incontinence is often erroneously thought of as a normal part of the aging process or an expected result of childbearing. Because of this, overactive bladder is underreported, under diagnosed, and undertreated. Although the condition is most common in older adults and women, people with symptoms of overactive bladder should not simply accept it and only address the problem with the use of incontinence products, such as pads. With modern treatments that address a variety of causes of overactive bladder and incontinence, symptoms can be successfully managed so that it is possible to live a normal, active life. About 25 million adult Americans experience transient or ongoing urinary incontinence and 75-80% of them are women. In addition, one in four women over the age of 18 experience episodes of leaking urine involuntarily, according to the National Association for Continence.

The bladder is an organ in the lower abdomen that expands like a balloon to store liquid waste products in the form of urine. Urine comes from the kidneys, which are connected to the bladder by two long tubes, called ureters. The kidneys' job is to filter waste products out of the bloodstream. In healthy people who do not have kidney disease, the kidneys continuously filter the bloodstream and create a constant flow of urine into the bladder. The "storage" capability of the bladder allows people to eliminate urine waste when it is generally convenient and not to have to deal with a continuous dripping of urine from their bodies. When the bladder does empty, urine flows from the body through the urethra. Normally, urine is released from the body "on command". This happens when nerve signals in the brain tell the muscles around the bladder and the urethra to relax to allow urine to flow. There are many factors that can disrupt the intricate and interconnected processes of the organs, muscles, and nerves that is necessary to maintain urinary continence (voluntary flow of urine). ...more »

Overactive Bladder: Symptoms

The severity and types of symptoms of overactive bladder vary from person to person. Typical symptoms include a sudden, strong urge to urinate, urinating frequently, or awakening two or more times throughout the night to urinate.

There are many types and causes of overactive bladder, and not all types and causes are known. However, some rare but ...more symptoms »

Overactive Bladder: Treatments

Current treatments can address a variety of causes of overactive bladder and incontinence, and symptoms can be successfully managed so people with overactive bladder can live a normal, active life.

Treatment plans are based on medical history, severity of the disease, coexisting conditions, and a patient's response to prior treatments. The most effect treatment plans for overactive ...more treatments »

Overactive Bladder: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of overactive bladder may be delayed or missed because some cases are mild and have minimal symptoms. Overactive bladder resulting in urinary incontinence is also often erroneously believed to be a normal part of the aging process or an expected result of childbearing. Because of this, overactive bladder is underreported, under diagnosed, and ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Overactive Bladder

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Overactive Bladder:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Overactive Bladder?

Overactive Bladder: Related Patient Stories

Curable Types of Overactive Bladder

Possibly curable types of Overactive Bladder include:

  • Cerebral palsy related overactive bladder
  • Posterior urethral valves associated overactive bladder
  • Urinary tract infections related to overactive bladder
  • more types...»

Rare Types of Overactive Bladder:

Rare types of Overactive Bladder include:

  • Myelomeningocele related overactive bladder
  • Cerebral palsy related to overactive bladder
  • Sacral agenesis related to overactive bladder
  • more types...»

Overactive Bladder: Complications

Read more about complications of Overactive Bladder.

Causes of Overactive Bladder

Read more about causes of Overactive Bladder.

Overactive Bladder: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Overactive Bladder

Interstitial cystitis an under-diagnosed bladder condition: The medical condition of interstitial cystitic is a bladder condition that can be...read more »

Overactive Bladder: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Overactive Bladder

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Overactive Bladder:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Overactive Bladder, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Overactive Bladder

Medical research articles related to Overactive Bladder include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

Research about Overactive Bladder

Visit our research pages for current research about Overactive Bladder treatments.

Overactive Bladder: Broader Related Topics

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Overactive Bladder, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Definitions of Overactive Bladder:

Urgency to URINATION, with or without urge incontinence, usually with frequency and NOCTURIA. - (Source - Diseases Database)

Related Overactive Bladder Info

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Forum Discussions about Overactive Bladder

More information about Overactive Bladder

  1. Overactive Bladder: Introduction
  2. Symptoms
  3. Causes
  4. Treatments
  5. Misdiagnosis
  6. Home Testing
  7. Types
  8. Complications
 

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