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What is overactive bladder?

Overactive bladder is not a disease by itself but a name for a group of urinary symptoms. It causes the sudden urge to urinate which is difficult to stop and may lead to the involuntary leaking of urine. Another symptom can also involve the need to pass urine many times during the day and night.

Possible Causes:

An overactive bladder is characterised by a sudden urge to urinate which leads to incontinence. Overactive bladder causes are as follows:

  • Involuntary muscle contraction that creates the urgent need to urinate even though the urine collected in the bladder is low.
  • Several causes may be responsible for an overactive bladder such as neurological disorders, diabetes, medications like diuretics, severe urinary tract infections (UTI), tumours or bladder stones, enlarged prostate and constipation.
  • Other reasons for this condition may be excessive consumption of caffeine or alcohol, slowing of cognitive function due to ageing, difficulty waking from sleep and incomplete bladder emptying.
  • However, in many cases, the specific causes of an overactive bladder may be unknown.

Risk Factors: 

The following factors may put you at risk for an overactive bladder:

  • Age is a major factor that puts you at risk of having an overactive bladder. Since you are likely to develop other disorders as you age, such as enlarged prostate and diabetes, these can affect your bladder control.
  • After a stroke or being afflicted by Alzheimer's disease, some people develop an overactive bladder as their cognitive function declines.
  • Bowel control problems sometimes go hand in hand with overactive bladder.

Signs & Symptoms: 

Unexpected frequent urination, especially at night, can disturb your life. Common symptoms are:

  • An urgency to urinate which you’re unable to control.
  • An involuntary loss of urine resulting from an urgent need to urinate.
  • Frequent urination usually more than eight times in 24 hours.
  • Awakening two or more times at night to urinate.


At Medcare, the initial diagnosis our expert urologists make is based on your medical history, a thorough physical examination of your abdomen and genitals, urine test to check for infection, traces of blood or other anomalies.

To identify sensory problems, the urologist may recommend a neurological exam and will ask you if you’re emptying your bladder completely when you urinate.

If the urologist suspects that there are other reasons for an overactive bladder, further tests may be prescribed. These could be urodynamic testing, which measures urine left in the bladder, measuring urine flow rate and testing bladder pressure through cystometry.

The results of all the above tests help our urologist to review and recommend the right strategy for your treatment.

Treatment Options: 

Meet a urology doctor at Medcare to diagnose and treat your condition correctly.  Overactive bladder treatment is often based on a combination treatment approach. 

  • The first step is to manage behaviour: 

    • Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles and urinary sphincter can control the bladder's involuntary contractions.
    • Weight loss may help if you have stress urinary incontinence.
    • Setting a schedule for going to the toilet at timely intervals.
    • Using a catheter if you can’t empty your bladder completely. 
    • Using absorbent pads to avoid wetting yourself inadvertently.
  • Training yourself to delay going to the toilet by holding when you feel an urge to urinate by contracting your pelvic floor muscles.

  • Overactive bladder medications help to relax the bladder, alleviate symptoms and incontinence. Bladder injections like Botox partially paralyse muscles and provide relief.

  • Regulating nerve impulses reduces your symptoms with a wire connected to a small battery device placed under your skin.

  • Surgery is used as a last resort to treat people with severe symptoms who don't respond to other treatments. Some of these surgeries include surgery to increase bladder capacity and bladder removal.

FAQs: الأسئلة الشائعة:
  • How is nerve damage related to an overactive bladder?

    A: Usually, it is the nerves that give a signal to your bladder to release urine when it gets full. So, if the nerves are not working normally, they may send an incorrect message to your bladder and urine gets released even when it isn’t full. Also, the muscles around the urethra become loose.

  • Which foods are not advised for an overactive bladder diet?

    A: Citrus foods, caffeine, soda and tomatoes are likely to make your bladder problems worse and should be avoided.

  • How do Botox injections help to control an overactive bladder?

    A: Your doctor will inject the Botox into your urinary bladder. It will be some days before you notice the effects of this on your overactive bladder, and they will last for up to eight months. After that, your doctor will decide whether to repeat this treatment.