Overactive bladder is a problem that includes symptoms of urinary frequency (having to urinate often), urinary urgency (the sudden, strong, uncontrollable urge to urinate), urge incontinence (urinating before making it to the bathroom), and nocturia (having to wake up at night to urinate).
These symptoms may be caused by neurological disorders (multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, stroke, spinal cord injury), nerve damage from surgery or trauma or radiation, kidney or bladder stones, and side effects of some medications. These symptoms may also be very similar to symptoms caused by other conditions like urinary tract infection, enlarged prostate, excess urine production due to diabetes, poor kidney function, or excess intake of fluids.
A diagnosis can usually be made by history and physical examination, but may require some blood and urine tests, as well as some imaging (ultrasound, CT, or MRI) and investigation (cystoscopy) to ensure there are no other underlying problems.
Treatment may include lifestyle modifications (decreasing caffeine or alcohol intake, changing the timing of fluid intake), pelvic floor exercises, medications, injection of Botox into the bladder, insertion of a ‘pacemaker’ for the bladder, or further bladder surgery depending on the cause and response to other treatments.