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What Is An Overactive Bladder?

What Is An Overactive Bladder?


The statistics on the prevalence of overactive bladder in the United States are staggering. One in three women in the U.S. has or has had symptoms of overactive bladder. What does this term really mean, and what are the warning signs and symptoms?


Basically, overactive bladder is defined as the need to go to the bathroom suddenly and frequently, occasionally not making it there in time. There are several forms of bladder leakage or incontinence, and not all are of these bladder issues are due to overactive bladder.


Symptoms of an Overactive Bladder:


  • Urge incontinence: That’s when you experience sudden leakage or “accidents” due to the overwhelmingly strong need to get to the bathroom quick. This is one of the classic signs of overactive bladder. Not only can the urgent need to get to a bathroom quickly put a damper on your social and work life, causing embarrassing situations, but it can also be a risk factor for serious falls and injuries. This risk is especially high for older adults; hurrying to get the bathroom can lead to fractures and bone breakages with serious complications.
  • Stress incontinence: This is what happens when you have an accident after laughing, coughing, or strenuous exercise. The cause of this type of leakage is weak pelvic muscles and/or weak sphincter muscles that allow urine to leak out when pressure is put on them. Since the cause is the tone of the pelvic and sphincter muscles, it is considered different from overactive bladder, which is caused by overactive nerve impulses. Pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause can all cause physiological changes that result in weaker pelvic muscles.
  • Frequent urination: Many women ask us: how frequent is too frequent? The general rule is that urinating eight or more times a day is a sign that you might have a bladder disorder. The need to urinate so often can have a huge impact on your quality of life. Road trips have to include planned bathroom breaks, and any sort of activity without bathroom access is simply out of the question.
  • Nighttime waking: Waking to go to the bathroom two or more times a night is another warning sign of overactive bladder. Because your sleep is interrupted, you might also experience a lower quality of sleep and tiredness when you wake up.
  • Overflow Incontinence: People with overflow incontinence don’t experience the usual sensations of voiding urine. The bladder doesn’t empty fully, causing urine to spill out at odd times. Women with medical problems affecting the pelvic area, people with weak bladder muscles or men with enlarged prostates may develop this type of incontinence.
  • Transient Incontinence: Due to any number of different medical conditions or their treatments, a person who temporarily develops a leaky bladder has transient incontinence. Some common culprits: severe constipation, irritated bladder, diuretic medication, sleeping pills and post-surgery complications.
  • Functional Incontinence: Due to physical or mental limitations, a person doesn’t reach the bathroom quickly enough has functional incontinence. Seniors with arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may have this type of incontinence.
  • Total Incontinence: When serious pre-existing conditions or accidental injuries disrupt the normal channels and processes of voiding, complete loss of bladder control may result. Fistulas and nerve-related problems such as spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis may result in total incontinence.


If you experience any of the symptoms above, you’re in good company; over thirty million Americans experience occasional to frequent bladder leakage. The good news is that there are many ways to effectively deal with overactive bladder and promote overall bladder health. From exercises to bladder leakage products, do you know all your options?


Common causes of Overactive Bladder, a.k.a. Nighttime Frequency a.k.a. Nocturne


Nighttime frequency, also called nocturia, is simply the frequent need get up to use the restroom while you’re trying to sleep. For most, getting up in the middle of the night to pee is unnecessary because their bodies produce more concentrated (and therefore less) urine while asleep, but others struggle with this issue on a regular basis. Do you struggle with nighttime frequency? Could any of these factors be affecting your condition?



Our bodies naturally produce an antidiuretic hormone that causes them to retain water, but we begin to produce less of this hormone as we get older. Our bladder muscles also become weaker as we age, causing us to more easily lose control of the urine in our bladders.


Drinking Too Much

Your nighttime frequency problems could simply be the result of drinking too much water or other beverages right before going to bed. If you tend to drink a lot of fluids, try cutting down on your intake a few hours before bed.


Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections cause frequent urination. You’ll also likely experience a painful, possibly burning sensation when you pee, and you may notice blood in your urine. Contact your doctor immediately in order to get antibiotics.



Certain medications act as diuretics, making your body shed fluids. If you suspect your frequency might be a medication side effect, get in touch with your doctor.


Sleep Disruptions

Although the need to urinate can wake you up, sometimes you wake up for other reasons then find that you need to pee. Nighttime frequency-related sleep disruptions include sleep apnea, hot flashes, chronic pain, and other sleep disorders.



For relief from nighttime frequency, try our clinically proven bladder leakage treatment, Healthy Bladder Plus.

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