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Overactive bladder: causes, symptoms and treatments

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Overactive bladder: causes, symptoms and treatments
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Do you have a sudden, uncontrollable urge to urinate, without your bladder being full? Maybe you have an overactive bladder? This disorder is when a person can’t manage their bladder or their urges to urinate. A bladder can contain between 400 and 600 milliliters of urine, but with an overactive bladder this maximum is never reached. Needing to go to the toilet can happen anytime. Morning, noon, evening, or even at night! And if you do not urinate you will inevitably not be able to hold it in. In this article, let’s look at the causes, symptoms and treatments of an overactive bladder.

What cause an overactive bladder

An overactive bladder is caused by the tightening of bladder walls which is what causes the urge to urinate. When you have an overactive bladder, the walls tighten very frequently and can not be controlled.
Normally when you need to go to the toilet, the two bladder muscles come into play called the urethra and the detrusor (internal part of the bladder). If the bladder is full, the detrusor muscle contracts, and you feel the urge to go to the toilet. If this muscle starts to malfunction, you will constantly feel the need to go although there is no cause to go to the toilet.
Although everyone can suffer from this disorder, women are more commonly affected. Older people can also be commonly affected as their muscles are weaker and controlling them becomes difficult.

You can also read: Kidney stones: what are some natural remedies?

Aggravating factors

Some factors can encourage your bladder muscles to malfunction causing a overactive bladder:

  • A urinary infection;
  • Overly drinking caffeinated drinks ;
  • Kidney stones;
  • Problems with your nervous system.

It is also important to note that you psychological state plays an enormous part in your genital and urinary system.  Someone who is suffering from stress could also suffer from an overactive bladder.

cystite - vagin - urinaire - Voyagerix - iStock
© Voyagerix / iStock

What are the symptoms?

An overactive bladder can present many symptoms :

  • Frequently needing to go to the toilet even if the bladder has not reached it’s maximum capacity.
  • Incontinence or urinary leaks if someone is not able to make it to the toilet on time.  This can cause a great deal of anxiety.
  • A compelling need (which one can not remember) to go to the toilet regularly, even if they realise the need to urinate is at an inappropriate time.

The person’s emotional state is once again very significant. The affected person can feel very anxious if they can not urinate, if they can not find a nearby place, and they panic at the thought of urinating on themselves.  What’s more, their symptoms will worsen the more scared or paranoid they become.

How to treat an overactive bladder

It is possible to treat an overactive bladder or to reduce its symptoms by:

  • Doing bladder rehabilitation exercises;
  • Taking specific medications to reduce your urge to pee;
  • Having a botulinum toxin injection in the bladder muscle so that you can keep more urine in your bladder;
  • Stimulating the tibial nerve, which plays an important role in managing the bladder;
  • Taking gosha-jinki-gan, a Japanese blend known to reduce the urge to urinate

If you’d like to reduce the risk of having an overactive bladder choose healthy drinks that are not loaded with caffeine.  You should also reduce the amount of alcohol you drink as well as tea, coffee, fizzy drinks, chocolate, vinegar and spices. You should also avoid drinking after meals and urinate before going to bed.


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