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What Is Considered An Overactive Bladder

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What Tests Will Be Done To Diagnose Overactive Bladder

What is Overactive Bladder Syndrome?

A healthcare provider may order tests to help diagnose overactive bladder. These tests may include:

  • Urinalysis. A urinalysis examines the visual, chemical and microscopic aspects of your pee. A provider will look for red blood cells, white blood cells and bacteria. If you have any of them in your pee sample, you may have an infection that causes OAB.
  • Urodynamic testing. Urodynamic tests measure how much pee remains in your bladder after you go to the bathroom, how much you pee, how fast you pee and how much pressure is on your bladder as it fills with pee.
  • Ultrasound. An ultrasound is a noninvasive imaging test that allows a healthcare provider to take a detailed look at your bladder.
  • Computed tomography scan. A CT scan is a noninvasive imaging test that produces 3D images of your bladder.
  • Cystoscopy. A healthcare provider will use a special instrument to look inside your bladder from your urethra. The provider typically uses a numbing gel so you dont feel pain in your urethra. In rare cases, they may use general anesthesia, so you arent awake, wont move and wont feel any pain.

Are There Differences: Overactive Bladder Vs Urinary Incontinence

There are some notable differences when discussing overactive bladder vs. urinary incontinence. OAB is a form of UI that presents itself differently. The sudden and frequent urge to urinate is present in both conditions, however, the main difference is patients with OAB feel an overwhelming urge to urinate, but dont exactly leak urine like patients with UI frequently do.

Though both problems can be annoying, and sometimes embarrassing, theyre treatable, but do require medical attention for the correct diagnosis and treatment.

At What Age Should Children Be Able Control Their Bladder

Wetting in children under 3 years old is very common. Most children will be able to control their bladder after they turn 3, but this age can still vary. An OAB is often not diagnosed until a child is 5 or 6 years old. By the age of 5, of children are able to control their urine during the day. Your doctor may not diagnose nighttime urinary incontinence until your child is 7 years old.

Bed-wetting affects

Less commonly, your child may experience leakage, especially when active or when sneezing.

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What Is Overactive Bladder

Overactive Bladder, or OAB, is the frequent and urgent need to empty your bladder. Also sometimes called spastic bladder or irritable bladder, OAB affects an estimated 33 million people in the USA alone. And half of the people with Overactive Bladder are struggling with Urgency Urinary Incontinence , when leakage actually occurs.

Overactive bladder can be a nuisance at best, and debilitating at worst. Its frustrating to constantly be running to the bathroom, and can cause anxiety, shame and even depression when its is also accompanied by urinary incontinence.

Contrary to what many people think, overactive bladder is NOT a normal part of getting older, and isnt something you should think you have to live with. Its a real medical condition that deserves treatment.

How We Made Our Recommendation

Lesson: Review of Nonneurogenic Overactive Bladder

Our evaluation is primarily based on an independent scientific review of the evidence on the effectiveness, safety, and side effects of overactive bladder medications. A team of physicians and researchers at the Pacific Northwest Evidence-Based Practice Center conducted the analysis.

A synopsis of that forms the basis for this report. A consultant to Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs is also a member of the Pacific Northwest EPC research team, which has no financial interest in any pharmaceutical company or product. The full Pacific Northwest EPC review of overactive bladder drugs is available here. . We also relied on research conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Cochrane Collaboration.

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Who Does Overactive Bladder Affect

Overactive bladder is most common in people 65 and older. Women may have OAB at a younger age, usually around 45.

How common is overactive bladder?

Overactive bladder is common. It affects up to 33 million adults in the U.S., including as many as 30% of men and 40% of women. However, that number may be higher because many people may feel embarrassed and wont get help.

How does overactive bladder affect my body?

Overactive bladder symptoms can cause stress and affect your quality of life.

What Is Overactive Bladder Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention

Overactive bladder is a health condition defined by the frequent, urgent need to urinate.

Rather than a disease in its own right, overactive bladder is a category of urinary symptoms. It can result from a number of different diseases and health conditions.

People with overactive bladder tend to have sudden urges to urinate that they cant control, and some people will leak urine as a result .

You may need to get up and urinate many times during the day or night if you have this condition. ” rel=”nofollow”> 1)

Overactive bladder falls under the larger umbrella of bladder control problems, and it overlaps with urgency incontinence, or urinary incontinence due to urgency. But not all people with overactive bladder will experience incontinence.

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Ui Treatments For Men

  • Minimally Invasive Sling Procedure: Synthetic material creates a pouch around the bladder that provides support and prevents leaking.
  • Bulking Agents: Synthetic material that is injected into the tissue surrounding your urethra that helps it stay closed.
  • Artificial Urinary Sphincter: A balloon is inserted around the bladder that helps shut off the urinary sphincter until youre ready to urinate.
  • Pelvic Physical Therapy: Also known as kegels which are great for strengthening pelvic floor muscles.
  • Medications: Various medications can be used to relax the bladder.

Overactive Bladder And Urge Urinary Incontinence In The Workplace

Overactive Bladder: What is OAB?

Any discussion of the effects of OAB and urge urinary incontinence in younger women has to consider the effects of these disorders in the workplace. Incontinence in working-age women has genuine economic consequences. Fultz and colleagues27 conducted a mail survey of women born in 1947 or earlier to assess their time use and activity patterns, including time spent at work. Incontinent women reported significantly fewer hours working for pay than did continent women. The median number of hours

Written byDr. Victor MarchionePublished onApril 30, 2016

Overactive bladder, or OAB, affects about 15 percent of the North American population. People who have OAB find themselves using the bathroom eight or more times a day and can even have urge incontinence involuntary loss of urine. Although it may appear that the older we get, the odds of us developing OAB increase, it really is not age-related. OAB occurs when contractions of the detrusor muscle within the wall of the bladder occur involuntarily. This, in turn, leads to more frequent trips to the bathroom.

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Also Check: Why Does Bladder Leakage Occur

Duration Of Overactive Bladder

In some people, overactive bladder is the result of health conditions that may improve over time or with treatment. In other people, OAB is caused by lasting or permanent health problems.

How long your OAB lasts will depend on its specific causes, as well as how effective your treatments are for both underlying conditions and OAB.

Even if your OAB doesnt go away completely with treatment, you may be able to reduce its severity or impact on your life. Doing so may include both lifestyle changes to reduce your symptoms and adaptive measures to prepare for symptoms.

How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Developing Overactive Bladder

Lifestyle adjustments can help reduce your risk of developing an overactive bladder. These may include:

  • Maintaining a weight thats healthy for you.
  • Drinking caffeine and alcohol in moderation.
  • Drinking the proper amount of fluids each day. Too many fluids can worsen your symptoms, while not drinking enough can irritate your bladder lining and increase the severity of your urges.
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Performing Kegels or other pelvic floor exercises.
  • Managing conditions that may cause OAB, such as diabetes or UTIs.

Also Check: How Do You Know If You Have Bladder Leakage

How Is Overactive Bladder Treated

A combination of treatment strategies may be the best approach to relieve overactive bladder symptoms. Overactive bladder treatment may involve combining several of the following options.

Behavioral Interventions

These are the first choice in helping manage an overactive bladder. They’re often effective, and they carry no side effects. Behavioral interventions may include:

Scheduled toilet trips – For example, urinating every two to four hours may get you on track to urinate at the same time every day instead of waiting until you feel the urge to urinate. This is probably the quickest and easiest way to achieve the most immediate results.

Bladder training – Bladder training involves training yourself to delay voiding when you feel the need to urinate. With this method, you must be able to tighten your pelvic floor muscles. To do this, you may need to do exercises.

Exercises – Kegel exercises and other pelvic floor muscle exercises can strengthen the urinary sphincter muscle.

Weight management: If you are overweight, losing weight may ease the symptoms.


Medications are not recommended for those with stress incontinence. They are only recommended for urge incontinence that does not improve with bladder training. Medications sometimes prescribed include:


Intermittent catheterization – This involves periodically wearing a catheter to completely empty the bladder.

Other Treatments


What Questions Should I Ask A Healthcare Provider

Overactive Bladder
  • How do you know that I have an overactive bladder?
  • Whats the cause of my overactive bladder?
  • Whats a normal number of times to pee each day?
  • How much should I drink each day?
  • What fluids should I drink?
  • What fluids should I avoid drinking?
  • What foods should I eat?
  • What foods should I avoid eating?
  • What treatments do you recommend?
  • Are there any side effects to your recommended treatment?
  • What medications do you recommend?
  • Are there any side effects to your recommended medications?
  • Are there any other lifestyle changes I can make?
  • Can you recommend a support group for people with overactive bladder?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Overactive bladder is a common condition that causes changes in your bathroom habits, which can be embarrassing. Many people struggle to talk to a healthcare provider about their symptoms. However, providers can help answer any of your questions without judgment. They can determine the cause of your overactive bladder and work with you to develop the best treatment plan. If you have symptoms of overactive bladder, talk to a healthcare provider so you can regain control of your bathroom habits and improve your quality of life.

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What Is Overactive Bladder Or Urge Incontinence

Overactive bladder, which is sometimes called urge urinary incontinence though that is really the most common symptom of OAB, is a complex of urinary symptoms:

  • The urgent and uncontrollable need to urinate often with leaking urine at these times .
  • The ongoing need to frequently urinate .
  • Waking up in the middle of the night specifically to pee .

OAB makes people feel like they âgotta goâ suddenly and much too often.

Itâs a common and frustrating part of life for many men and women: About 40% of women and 30% of men have OAB symptoms, reports the Urology Care Foundation. Women over age 45 are more likely to have OAB, especially if they are entering menopause.

Many of these people donât talk about it, even with their doctor. We know that women often think OAB is uncommon and are embarrassed to discuss it, or they fear that the only treatment is surgery or there is no treatment. None of that is true.

Our physicians encourage women to seek medical attention for overactive bladder because it most often can be managed. Another reason is that it could be a symptom of another medical problem, like a UTI or diabetes.

Medications For Overactive Bladder

Medications for overactive bladder target muscles that control bladder function. These drugs can be used alone or in combination, and include:

  • Anticholinergics such as trospium , darifenacin and oxybutynin relax bladder muscles. They are the most commonly prescribed medications for overactive bladder and are well tolerated. Side effects include constipation and dry mouth.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants, such as imipramine and doxepin, stop contractions in the smooth muscle of the bladder. Side effects include dizziness, fatigue, changes in vision, nausea, insomnia, and dry mouth.

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What Is Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence, or UI, is a common, and often embarrassing, condition in which patients can not prevent urine from leaking from their bladder. The severity can range from occasionally leaking urine when you cough or sneeze, to having an urge to urinate that is so strong you are not able to make it to a toilet in time.

Though this condition is mostly seen in patients as they get older, UI isnt an inevitable consequence of aging. UI is the result of a person losing control over their urinary sphincter, due to it being lost or weakened. There are five different types or urinary incontinence:

  • Stress incontinence: when leaks are caused by pressure on the bladder due to coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercising.
  • Urge incontinence: having sudden, intense urges to urinate followed by the involuntary loss of urine.
  • Overflow incontinence: the frequent and constant dribble of urine due to the bladder not fully emptying.
  • Functional incontinence: a physical or mental impairment that keeps you from making it to the bathroom on time.
  • Mixed incontinence: when you experience multiple types of urinary incontinence.

Consult Your Doctor About Herbs Botanical Medicines

Bladder Health – What is Overactive Bladder?

While there are also some herbs and botanical medicines and combination of herbs from traditional Chinese medicine that have been used traditionally or have been explored to help reduce OAB symptoms, research is limited and variable in quality and conclusions. Before starting an herbal remedy, especially if planning to take longer term, its best to speak to your urologist, primary care provider, or an integrative medicine physician.

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What Is Sacral Nerve Stimulation

An overactive bladder is a condition that causes a frequent and urgent need to urinate. Some people with this condition experience urinary incontinence, or the involuntary leakage of urine.

Sacral nerve stimulation, or sacral neuromodulation, is a potentially effective treatment option. It involves implanting an electrode under your skin to stimulate the nerves around your bladder with electricity.

This electricity inhibits signals traveling from your bladder to your spinal cord and brain, potentially reducing symptoms of an overactive bladder and some other health conditions.

Sacral nerve stimulation is most often recommended when you do not respond to earlier treatment options, such as:

  • lifestyle changes and exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles

of people develop complications within 5 years.

In a 2022 review of studies , researchers found that no life threatening or major irreversible complications had been reported from sacral nerve stimulation as of May 31, 2021.

The procedure can be expensive, and surgical correction may be needed if problems arise. Correction can add to the overall cost. It usually consists of relocating the device due to pain or changing the location of the wire if it migrates.

In a published in The Journal of Urology, researchers found the average 2-year and 5-years costs were $35,680 and $36,550, significantly more than another potential treatment option, Botox injections.

Pathophysiology Of The Oab Syndrome

Various factors may be involved in OAB and the major cause may vary from individual to individual. The etiology of OAB is still under investigation and is not well understood. However, 4 theories have been proposed to explain the pathophysiology of OAB:

  • The neurogenic theory: reduction in the inhibitory neural impulses and increase in the afferent impulses from the bladder trigger the voiding reflex .
  • The myogenic theory: the detrusor muscle becomes more sensitive to cholinergic stimulation leading to increased spontaneous activity .
  • The autonomous bladder theory: alteration or exacerbation of phasic activity is generated by muscarinic stimulation .
  • The afferent signaling theory: spontaneous bladder contractions during filling result in increased afferent output and hence the awareness of bladder filling .
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    Causes Of Total Incontinence

    Total incontinence is when your bladder cannot store any urine at all. It can mean you either pass large amounts of urine constantly, or you pass urine occasionally with frequent leaking in between.

    Total incontinence can be caused by:

    • a problem with your bladder from birth
    • injury to your spinal cord this can disrupt the nerve signals between your brain and your bladder

    Are There Treatments For Oab

    Overactive Bladder Pictures

    Treatment for OAB begins with an accurate diagnosis of your condition. At Urology Associates Medical Group, were experienced at identifying OAB so you can get the help you need.

    We first review your medical history, paying close attention to any symptoms you describe. If required for diagnosis, we may order lab work or additional testing, such as measuring urine flow rate or a urinalysis.

    Once we better understand your condition, we create a customized OAB treatment plan that fits your needs. OAB treatments vary depending on the triggers or contributing factors and the severity of your symptoms and may include:

    • Lifestyle changes

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    Section : Patient Presentation

    Symptoms. When symptoms of urinary frequency and urgency, with or without urgency incontinence, are self-reported as bothersome the patient may be diagnosed with overactive bladder .27 Additionally, a caregiver or partner may perceive these symptoms as bothersome and lead the patient to seek care. It is common for patients to have suffered with their symptoms for an extended time before seeking medical advice.

    Differentiation. OAB symptoms may occur only at night, causing a single symptom of nocturia. The differential of nocturia includes nocturnal polyuria ,28 low nocturnal bladder capacity or both. In nocturnal polyuria, nocturnal voids are frequently normal or large volume as opposed to the small volume voids commonly observed in nocturia associated with OAB. Sleep disturbances, vascular and/or cardiac disease and other medical conditions are often associated with nocturnal polyuria. As such, it is often age-dependent, increasing in prevalence with aging and with poorer general health.

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