What are the Symptoms of Overactive Bladder?

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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2018
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Symptoms of overactive bladder often include an increase in the number of times a person needs to urinate every day along with occasional episodes of incontinence. People with overactive bladders also often report sudden urges to urinate that seem to come from nowhere or that occur just after they have already urinated. Symptoms of overactive bladder might additionally include an increase in the number of times a person urinates during the night. These problems do not typically go away on their own, and it is usually necessary for a doctor to make a definite diagnosis of any bladder problem.

An increase in urinary urgency is often one of the first warning signs of an overactive bladder. Muscle spasms inside the bladder are responsible for making a person feel a sudden urge to urinate, and this may be incredibly confusing for someone who just recently emptied her bladder. In many cases, a person might go to the bathroom after feeling a sudden need to urinate and find that he or she can only urinate a little or not at all. This problem can be very inconvenient for most people, particularly if they must leave their homes or be in the public eye often due to their jobs or other various obligations.


Symptoms of overactive bladder also commonly include incontinence, which means that a person may lose total bladder control. Incontinence can occur at any time of the day or night, and it is normally very embarrassing for people who experience it. When a person has incontinence, he typically feels a sudden urge to urinate and is not able to make it to the bathroom in time. Adult diapers or pads must often be worn to prevent incontinence from disrupting a person's daily life.

People with symptoms of an overactive bladder may also notice that they urinate more often throughout the day, which might equate to producing only small amounts of urine several times a day rather than producing a lot of urine just two or three times a day. A person might also urinate several times throughout the night. Urinary urgency that occurs more than twice in a night is considered a red flag for bladder problems by many doctors.

It is not usually a good idea for a person to ignore any symptoms of overactive bladder. Many people think of the problem as being no big deal or just a sign that they are starting to age. An overactive bladder is usually indicative of some type of larger problem and could even be a sign of cancer. There are several options for treatment available to people with overactive bladders, and a doctor's visit should typically not be delayed so that the root cause can be uncovered.



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