Explaining Overactive Bladder

Posted on: 26 June 2017

Constant and urgent need to urinate is the main symptom of an overactive bladder. Men may experience this more often with age because of an enlarged prostate, but many women also suffer from overactive bladder as the result of having several children, medications, and even overuse of stimulants such as caffeine and amphetamines. If you feel like you have to urinate every twenty minutes, or you have to get up every hour at night, you may have an overactive bladder. Here is a better explanation of the disorder and some overactive bladder services that can help.

Mixed-up Signals

Your bladder, as you age, becomes weaker. It is a muscle, supported by tendons, and held in place in your pelvis by ligaments. Nerves that feed into your pelvic region carry signals from your bladder to your brain to let you know that your bladder is full and needs to empty.

The problem with overactive bladder is that the signals are getting mixed up, sped up, and not signaling when the should. Then your body overcompensates by applying additional pressure to the bladder to force you to go and results in embarrassing accidents. Most of the time, anxiety about having an accident is enough to make you take several trips to the bathroom, even if you are not feeling anything like a full bladder sensation.


Overactive bladder can be treated with medication. Some medications help with anxiety so that you can reduce the number of bathroom trips. Other medications reduce the sensation of a full bladder even when you were just in the bathroom and went a few minutes ago. Still a few more medications reduce the muscular contractions of the bladder so that you do not have to race to the nearest bathroom only to urinate a few drops each time.

Other treatments for overactive bladder include catheterization, wherein your doctor or a nurse teaches you how to catheterize yourself and either collect the urine in a leg bag or release the stopped-up catheter into a toilet. It may also be possible to surgically cut the nerves to your bladder to reduce the sensations of urgency, but this is a last resort because you would not be able to feel when your bladder really is full.

Your doctor is the best person to talk to regarding your bladder issues. He or she can also rule out other causes of frequent bathroom trips, including bladder cancer, prostate cancer, and urinary tract or bladder infections. Then your doctor can suggest the best course of treatment for your overactive bladder.