OVER ACTIVE BLADDER: You Don’t have to Suffer

Written by Christine Bishara MD

Overactive bladder is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by a sudden and frequent urge to urinate, which can be difficult to control and may even lead to involuntary loss of urine. While it is not a life-threatening condition, it can be inconvenient and affect one’s quality of life. In this article, we will explore the symptoms, causes, and treatments of overactive bladder, as well as lifestyle changes that can help manage the condition.

Overactive bladder (OAB) is a condition that affects the urinary system and causes a frequent and sudden urge to urinate that may be difficult to control. It is not a disease, but rather a group of urinary symptoms that can be caused by a variety of factors.

Symptoms can also include:

  • Urinary frequency (typically more than 8 times a day)
  • Nocturia (waking up a night more than twice to urinate)
  • Urgency incontinence (unintentional loss of urine)

What may predispose someone to an overactive bladder (OAB)?

Let’s first take a look at what normal bladder function looks like before we get into what could predispose someone to an overactive bladder.

Our kidneys utilize long tubes known as ureters to release urine into the bladder. Once the bladder reaches its capacity, the urethra’s sphincter receives nerve signals and contracts to permit the release of urine from the body. In females, the urethral opening is located just above the vaginal opening, while in males, it is present at the tip of the penis.

Individuals with an overactive bladder, on the other hand, experience abnormal contractions of the sphincter due to nerve signals, even when the bladder is not full. This condition is commonly associated with certain medical conditions such as:

  • Neurological disorders: such as stroke and multiple sclerosis, may contribute to signs and symptoms of overactive bladder. 
  • Diabetes: which is another condition of OAB as it can cause damage to the nerve endings in the bladder. 
  • Urinary tract infections: that can cause symptoms similar to those of an overactive bladder. 
  • Hormonal changes: changes due to and during menopause in women. 
  • Medical Conditions: that are affecting the bladder, things such as tumors or bladder stones.
  • Inhibiting Factors: things that obstruct urine leaving the bladder, such as constipation, an enlarged prostate, or previous surgery to treat incontinence. 
  • Medications: Some medications can cause your body to make a lot of urine or require that you take them with lots of fluids, which can lead to overactive bladder symptoms. S as diuretics
  • Caffeine or Alcohol: Drinking too much caffeine or alcohol can also be associated with overactive bladder symptoms. 
  • Declining cognitive function: declining cognitive function due to aging, which may make it more difficult for your bladder to understand the signals it receives from your bladder. 
  • Difficulty walking: can potentially lead to bladder urgency if you are unable  to get to the bathroom. 

Treatments and Remedies for Overactive Bladder?

Overactive bladder can be treated with a combination of dietary, lifestyle, and behavioral interventions. 

  1. Diet and lifestyle: It’s important to note that lifestyle adjustments can also help reduce the risk of developing overactive bladder, such as maintaining a healthy weight, drinking caffeine and alcohol in moderation, avoiding eating spicy foods, and drinking the proper amount of fluids each day. Weight loss in overweight or obese individuals can help, especially if diabetes is present.
  1. Behavioral interventions and bladder training: 
  • Kegel exercises: to help strengthen the pelvic floor can help with OAB. 
  • Keeping a bladder diary: This can help determine the cause of overactive bladder and track progress. Certain foods can make OAB worse such as alcohol, chocolate, coffee or caffeine based drinks,tomato or citrus fruits as well as spicy foods.
  • Bladder training: This involves gradually increasing the time between bathroom visits to train the bladder to hold more urine. Like every hour. 
  • Double voiding: This involves urinating, waiting a few minutes, and then trying to urinate again to empty the bladder more completely. 
  1. Medications: Medications that relax the bladder can be helpful for relieving symptoms of overactive bladder and reducing episodes of urge incontinence. They have been very helpful in allowing patients with OAB to lead normal lives.


Overactive bladder is a condition that can cause considerable stress and embarrassment. Fortunately, there are several treatments available to improve the symptoms of overactive bladder, including behavioral interventions and medications. However, it’s important to note that lifestyle adjustments can also help reduce the risk of developing overactive bladder, such as maintaining a healthy weight, drinking caffeine and alcohol in moderation, and drinking the proper amount of fluids each day. Too many fluids can worsen symptoms, while not drinking enough can irritate the bladder lining and increase the severity of urges. Lifestyle changes can be a simple and effective way to manage overactive bladder symptoms and improve quality of life. 

As always, please consult with your doctor to see what options are best for you and to incorporate lifestyle modifications and medications into your treatment plan.




3- https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14248-overactive-bladder