Spastic bladder is a condition in which a patient feels the strong and sudden urge to urinate on several occasions during a twenty-four hour period. This can be caused by bladder contractions which occur at inappropriate times or by a bladder that is more sensitive to the feeling of urine than normal. Many patients who suffer from spastic bladder also suffer from occasional urinary incontinence as part of this disorder.
There are varying degrees of spastic bladder. Some patients may experience only mild discomfort without urinary incontinence, while others may have trouble going out in public and participating in everyday activities for fear of urine leakage. Symptoms often include an overwhelming and sudden urge to urinate, frequent urination, and the inability to hold urine for long periods of time. Patients often wake in the night to urinate. Age may be a factor in the development of overactive, or spastic, bladder, although it affects both men and women of all ages.
Exercises designed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, such as kegels, have proven effective at treating and preventing spastic bladder for many patients. The pelvic floor muscles are the muscles responsible for holding up and supporting the bladder as well as stopping the flow of urine. To work these muscles patients should begin urinating and then pull in to stop the flow. This action is the same used during kegels.
Strengthening the abdominal muscles is also necessary for optimum bladder function. Pregnancy and childbirth can weaken these muscle groups, so women are particularly susceptible to lowered muscle tone. Pelvic floor exercises are not effective enough to fully control spastic bladder for all patients and additional treatments may be necessary.
Prescription medication is available for overactive bladder. Medications may be used long-term or only until exercises become effective enough to control this condition without drugs.
Patients who are diagnosed with overactive bladder should avoid substances which may make bladder irritation and sensitivity worse. Excessive caffeine, alcohol, and certain drugs may irritate the bladder's delicate tissues and lead to increased symptoms. Drinking plenty of water is also important because this flushes out any irritants and bacteria from the urinary tract.
Sometimes bacteria can lead to a urinary tract infection. If left untreated, infections of the bladder can lead to symptoms similar to those associated with spastic bladder. These symptoms may be accompanied by pain and burning when urinating and an inability to pass urine even when the urge to go is strong. Urinary tract infections are generally diagnosed by a doctor, and antibiotics are the most commonly used treatment.