This is a common condition which causes the bladder to contract suddenly in an uncontrolled way. Contractions often occur when the bladder is not full. About one in six people experience some symptoms of an overactive bladder, according to two large studies. However symptoms vary in their severity.
Symptoms of an overactive bladder
- You may experience a sudden desire to pass urine which cannot be put off. This type of incontinence is often known as urge incontinence.
- There may be a need to go to the toilet very frequently, in some cases more than seven times a day.
- You may wake up at night wanting to go the toilet, two or three times every night.
- There may be some leaking of urine before you are able to get to the toilet in time.
Causes of an overactive bladder
For many people, the reason for developing an overactive bladder is not known. Normally, the bladder muscle, called the detrusor, is relaxed as the bladder fills up. Once the bladder becomes about half full, it is gradually stretched and we feel the need to pass urine.
If a person has an overactive bladder, the muscle seems to give the wrong messages to the brain. This means that the bladder may feel full when it is fairly empty and contracts too early, making the person feel a sudden need to pass urine. Symptoms may be exacerbated by caffeine in tea and coffee and by alcohol. If there is no known cause for symptoms, the problem is known as overactive bladder syndrome.
However, there are a range of known causes which result in an overactive bladder. The condition may develop as a result of a nerve or brain related disease such as Parkinson’s disease, or following a stroke or spinal cord injury. Similar symptoms may occur due to a urine infection, stone in the bladder, or enlarged prostate. It is therefore very important to have a full, specialist assessment to identify the cause of your bladder problems.
Treatments for the overactive bladder
There are very effective treatments available for the overactive bladder and Harley Street Urology provides the full spectrum of treatments. We offer a step-by-step system and continuous support, ensuring we meet your individual needs, use minimally invasive approaches where possible and find an effective solution for you.
▸ Read about Harley Street Urology incontinence treatments for the overactive bladder.