A reader of our blog recently wanted emailed and asked for  help on an issue that she was having. She indicated she was suffering from an overactive bladder.

This is a common and very frustrating occurrence in women after live births, as they age, and even can be found in men.   Imagine that every time you go into a building, your office, or your own home, the first thing that you do is find the restroom.

Overactive bladder can be such a problem that for several days of the month, you fear leaving your own home.   When you have overactive bladder, you have sudden and frequent sensations to urinate. But even worse than that, you have accidental urination and sometimes painful urination.

Overactive Bladder

This is a urological condition that can also be called urge incontinence.  Many times the symptoms can be seen during the day as well as night.

It is believed that somewhere between 10 and 30 percent of Americans experience frequent urination.

It is defined when you urinate more than 8 times a day.

The problem with this definition is that there are other causes of urinating over 8 times per day including bladder infections, bladder tumors, cystitis, and others. Therefore, these other conditions often need to be rule out as something more serious.

Cause of Overactive Bladder

This is the unknown aspect of this condition.   Often the first place to look is a group of muscles that help with urination – They are called Detrusor urinae muscle.

This muscle contracts with urination occurs.  When it is relaxed, it allows the bladder to fill.  When the muscle contracts, then urination can occur.

Overactive bladder does increase or becomes more prevalent as age increases.

Caffeine – this causes an increased urinary output. Often this only makes things worse and isn’t a direct cause of the problem.


This is often done after ruling out everything else that could potential be the main problem.

Once this is done, the next step is to get tested or a Urodynamic Testing.   This is a study the assesses how the bladder and urethra are performing.

The goal of the bladder and urethra is to store and release urine in a timely manner.

This diagnostic test is done in Urology, Gynecology, and other offices.

It also looks at the prostate of men who have enlarged prostates.  In this case, an enlarged prostate can cause a man to void several times a day and at night.

The test itself is initially about how you urinate. The strength and stream of the urination. They measure the volume of your urine after you finish urinating.

They will check the urine under a microscope. They also check to see how fast you can empty your bladder.   This can look specifically into why you may or may not be completely voiding.

X-rays can also be done as you are urinating. This is a more specialized look at the voiding process.

Treatment for Overactive Bladder

1.)     Retraining your muscles.

–          This is a reminder that your body has gotten used to frequent urination
–          Bladder training will lengthen the time between voiding process.
–          An active attempt to hold your urination
–          This is a very slow process – extending time between voiding by 5 minutes and not 60 minutes initially.

2.)     Fluid restriction

3.)     Caffeine restriction

4.)     Medications

5.)     Botulinum toxin in some cases

6.)     Urinary devices

7.)     Other


Overactive bladder is a difficult thing and you’d be surprised at how hard and demoralizing it can be for those who are affected. Treatment is often only a partial improvement. Much of what happens is because of the fear we have inside our heads.

By beginning treatment, that fear is replaced by a goal and a realization that improvement is possible.

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