What is overactive bladder?
Overactive bladder is when the bladder contracts as it is filling. This means that the bladder wants to squeeze out urine, even when it is not full, and often with very little warning.
What are the symptoms of overactive bladder?
- Urgency - A sudden urge to go to the toilet immediately
- Urge incontinence - Sudden leakage of urine from the bladder/not making it to the toilet in time
- Frequency - The need to urinate many times (more than 8) throughout the day
- Nocturia - Getting up to go to the toilet (more than once) during the night
Many people with overactive bladder do not seek medical help or advice due to embarrassment. They may also think that there is no help available, or that it is an inevitable part of getting older, both of which are untrue.
What causes overactive bladder?
It is often quite difficult to say what causes an overactive bladder. Doctors recognise several different underlying causes and it is important to make sure there are no other underlying problems that could be causing the symptoms.
Who is affected?
Overactive bladder is a common problem and can affect men, women and children of any age or race. However, sufferers are predominantly women, and the incidence of overactive bladder increases with age. However, the condition is not an inevitable part of the ageing process.
How can overactive bladder affect someone's life?
All aspects of the quality of life can be affected by the symptoms of overactive bladder. Work and social life can become restricted due to the need for ready access to toilet facilities, and travelling may also be difficult. Emotionally, a person with overactive bladder may feel embarrassed, and experience isolation and lack of self-esteem.