Overactive Bladder (OAB)

What is overactive bladder?

Overactive bladder can affect women of all ages, even children. It involves the unpleasant symptom of urgency. Urgency is a sudden compelling, difficult to defer urge to urinate. It is like a light switch where you change from no desire to urinate to a sudden intense desire to urinate. It is different from a strong desire to urinate, which feels uncomfortable but you can hold on if you need to. Urgency can sometimes be associated with pain.

Overactive bladder can be associated with urge incontinence, frequency (needing to urinate alot), and nocturia (waking at night to urinate).

It can be caused by:

  • Differences in peoples bladders resulting in increased sensitivity
  • Sensitivity to products such as caffeine, artificial sweeteners, carbonated drinks, alcohol
  • Hormonal changes
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Neurological problems: stroke, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injuries

Treatment involves:

  • Lifestyle modification if required
  • Identifying triggers
  • Bladder re-training
  • Behaviour re-training
  • Medical and pharmaceutical options can be discussed