Overactive Bladder Syndrome: Do you Have it and What can be Done about It?

The average person urinates six to eight times each day. As much as ten to twelve times could be normal if you consume a large amount of fluids or take medication that has a diuretic effect. Many people who pee more times than usual worry they have overactive bladder syndrome, a condition that can lead to urge incontinence. How can you tell whether your frequent urination results from overactive bladder syndrome or another condition? Here are some ways to know.

What is Overactive Bladder Syndrome?

Your kidneys are constantly at work filtering your blood and creating urine from waste products. This urine is not held in the kidneys, but rather passes through thin tubes known as ureters that lead into the bladder. Once the bladder becomes full, nerve messages are sent from your pelvic floor muscles to your brain telling you it is time to relieve yourself.

In cases of overactive bladder syndrome, these signals occur even when the bladder is not full, and may also come on without notice. Sudden urges to urinate often result in leakage, and may even cause you to awaken during the night in order to use the bathroom.

What Causes Overactive Bladder Syndrome?

In the majority of cases, the reason for overactive bladder syndrome is unclear, although heredity is thought to play a role in its development. Some people may also experience it after suffering another condition that affects the nerves or brain such as:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Spinal cord injury or tumor

Diagnosing Overactive Bladder Syndrome

A urine test is typically performed to rule out an infection, which may sometimes result in some of the same symptoms as overactive bladder syndrome. If your urine test comes back clean, we may ask you to consume precise amounts of liquid and then measure the volume of urine you produce in a day. After drinking around two liters or so of fluids, the average person will produce between 800 and 2,000 milliliters in a 24-hour period. Considerably larger amounts could indicate the presence of overactive bladder syndrome.

Treatment Options

In instances where frequent urination is due to a Urinary Tract Infection or UTI, a round of antibiotics will be needed to clear up the condition. In other cases, treatment for overactive bladder syndrome can involve:

  • Weight loss, as extra pounds can place additional stress on the bladder and kidneys
  • Training yourself to urinate only at specific times
  • Medication to help control bladder spasms
  • Avoiding alcohol or caffeine
  • Performing exercises such as Kegels to strengthen pelvic floor muscles

In rare cases, surgery may be used to increase your bladder capacity or to regulate the nerve impulses going to your bladder. More invasive procedures such as these are generally used only as a last resort after other treatment methods have failed to produce desirable results.

Overactive bladder syndrome is typically more of a bother than it is a health concern. That doesn’t mean you should ignore your symptoms, as there are a number of practical solutions to help you obtain the relief you desire.