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Overactive Bladder Syndrome


Maj Patel
Overactive bladder syndrome is a problem with the bladder’s ability to store urine. It causes sudden, frequent urges to urinate that can be disruptive to your life. Major Spencer, what else can you tell us about overactive bladder syndrome?

Maj Spencer
Well, Dr. Patel, an overactive bladder is characterized by a number of symptoms, including:

  • A sudden urge to urinate that’s difficult to control
  • Urge incontinence, or urine leakage that immediately follows the urge to urinate
  • Frequent urination, meaning eight or more times in a 24-hour period, and
  • Waking two or more times in the night to urinate, which is called nocturia

Although women with overactive bladder syndrome may be able to get to the bathroom in time when they have the urge to urinate, frequent urination and nocturia can be disruptive to daily life.

Overactive bladder is common among older women, but it’s not a normal part of aging. Overactive bladder syndrome is a result of the bladder’s muscles contracting involuntarily even when the amount of urine in the bladder is potentially low. Several factors are associated with an overactive bladder, including:

  • Certain medications that cause a rapid increase in urine production or bladder contractions as a side effect
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Bladder abnormalities, such as tumors or bladder stones
  • Excess consumption of caffeine or alcohol
  • Constipation
  • Incomplete bladder emptying
  • Neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis
  • High urine production from high fluid intake, poor kidney function, or diabetes, and
  • Cognitive decline that makes it difficult for the brain to send and receive appropriate signals to and from the bladder