Overactive bladder is a relatively new term which includes symptoms of urge urinary incontinence (sudden/involuntary loss of bladder control), urgency (urgent need to urinate) and frequency (frequent urination).
Who is affected by overactive bladder?
Overactive bladder primarily affects women and the incidence of symptoms increase with age, although it is not a natural consequence of aging. Some experts believe that overactive bladder may be a significant factor leading to the institutionalization of the elderly.
What are the causes of overactive bladder?
Overactive bladder can be caused by conditions such as bladder or sphincter disorders, problems with nerves to and from the bladder and other neurologic problems. Some causes of the symptoms of overactive bladder are temporary and can result from infection, constipation or a side effect from a drug.
Is overactive bladder strictly a medical problem?
No. It is a problem that also affects the emotional, psychological and social well-being. Many people are afraid to participate in normal daily activities for fear of having wetting accidents in public.
How is overactive bladder diagnosed?
Most often, symptoms of overactive bladder are diagnosed by a urologist who reviews a patient’s medical history and voiding charts. Complete physical examinations are also conducted.
Why is overactive bladder under-treated?
Many people do not seek treatment – only about 10% of individuals seek treatment with a physician – because they are embarrassed to do so. Many also believe that overactive bladder symptoms are a natural consequence of aging and the condition cannot be treated. People also cope by using widely available absorbent products that help control the problem, but neither treat nor cure it.