Overactive bladder describes a frequent feeling of a sudden urge to urinate.
• The frequent need to urinate may occur during the day, at night, or both
• The urge may be difficult to stop, and this may trigger involuntary loss of urine (urinary incontinence)
• More than 40% of people with overactive bladder have urinary incontinence
• Managing symptoms can be difficult because an overactive bladder may be unpredictable. This can cause some people with the condition to feel embarrassed, limit their work and social life, and isolate themselves, affecting the quality of life
• Overactive bladder is not life-threatening, but most people with the condition have complications, such as emotional distress or depression, issues with sexuality, anxiety, or interrupted sleep cycles
Normally, the kidneys produce urine, which drains into the bladder through a narrow tube called the ureter. The bladder slowly fills up with the urine. The urine is then expelled from the body through another narrow tube called the urethra.
As the bladder fills, nerve signals sent to the brain triggers the need to urinate. Nerve signals coordinate the relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles and the muscles of the urethra during urination. The muscles of the bladder contract, pushing urine out.