Everything You Need To Know About An Overactive Bladder

Health & Medical Blog

If you wake up in the middle of the night to urinate or leak a little urine when you laugh, it is not a normal sign of aging. It may be an overactive bladder. Here's what you need to know.

What Is an Overactive Bladder?

An overactive bladder is a condition where the bladder muscle contracts too often, causing issues with urination, including frequency and incontinence. While it is more common in older adults, it can happen to anyone. There are several things that can cause an overactive bladder, including diet, weight, medications, and underlying health conditions.

What Are the Symptoms of an Overactive Bladder?

The most common symptoms of an overactive bladder are:

  • Urinary frequency. Having to go more than eight times in a 24-hour period.
  • Urgency. A strong need to urinate that cannot be delayed.
  • Nocturia. Waking up at night to urinate.
  • Incontinence. Leakage of urine when you do not mean to urinate. This can happen when you cough, sneeze, or lift something heavy.

What Causes an Overactive Bladder?

There are several things that can contribute to an overactive bladder, including:

  • Diet. Certain foods and drinks, like caffeine, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, acidic foods, and spicy foods, can irritate the bladder and make symptoms worse.
  • Weight. Being overweight puts extra pressure on the bladder and pelvic floor muscles, which can lead to incontinence.
  • Medications. Some medications, like diuretics, sedatives, and decongestants, can increase urinary frequency.
  • Underlying health conditions. Conditions like diabetes, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and stroke can lead to an overactive bladder.

What Are the Treatment Options for an Overactive Bladder?

There are several things that you can do to treat an overactive bladder, including:

  • Diet changes. Avoid foods and drinks that irritate the bladder.
  • Weight loss. If you are overweight, this can help reduce pressure on the bladder and pelvic floor muscles.
  • Kegel exercises. These exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which can help with incontinence.
  • Bladder training. This helps retrain the bladder muscle, so it does not contract as often. 
  • Medications. Medications work by relaxing the bladder muscle, which decreases urinary frequency and urgency.
  • Botox injections. Botox injections help relax the bladder muscle, decreasing urinary frequency and urgency.
  • Surgery. In some cases, surgery may be recommended if other treatments have not worked or are not possible due to other health conditions.

An overactive bladder can happen to anyone. Talk to your doctor if you think you have an overactive bladder and what treatment options are best for you. 


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