Overactive bladder: What is it? Overactive bladder: What is it?

This little-known condition is mainly characterized by an urgency to urinate and often comes with an increase in the need to urinate. Read on to learn more about this disease.

According to the International Continence Society (ICS), overactive bladder syndrome often also includes incontinence or a loss of bladder control. While its causes are unknown, it can often be caused by too much stress and by drinking too many liquids or too much caffeine, along with other beverages.

This condition’s symptoms include an urgency to urinate, an increase in the frequency of urination, and a desire to urinate more than eight times a day or more than twice at night. Urge incontinence may also occur, which is the involuntary loss of urine followed by an urge to urinate.

For Mauricio Plata, the head of the Urology Department at the Santa Fé de Bogotá Foundation, while this is not a fatal disease, having an overactive bladder can significantly affect a person’s quality of life, causing an absence at work, depression, social isolation and insomnia. Getting an early diagnosis can help ensure that the right treatment or measures are used to help control symptoms.

Bladder control in women

According to the  National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, this condition is more common among women, especially older women. This is not a natural part of aging, however. Incontinence can be a sign of other problems. (Read also: On the female bladder).

Common causes:

Medications, alcohol and caffeine. Leaks can happen when medication or alcohol affect the nerves or muscles. Caffeinated beverages such as coffee and soda, also make the bladder fill quickly. It is therefore important to try to drink beverages that are caffeine-free.

Infections. An infection in the urinary tract can irritate the bladder’s nerves and make the bladder leak without warning. This type of incontinence goes away once the infection has been cured.

Being overweight. Being overweight can the pressure on the bladder, causing urine to leak.