Early Symptoms of Overactive Bladder

Have you ever been invited on a road trip or large event and second guessed going because you were nervous about finding a bathroom in time? If this sounds familiar you are not alone! In fact, overactive bladder affects an estimated 10 million people in the USA alone. So how do you know if you are experiencing early symptoms? Here are some things to pay attention to according to the National Institute of Continence.



Overactive Bladder, or OAB, is the frequent and urgent need to empty your bladder. Also sometimes called “spastic bladder” or “irritable bladder,” Overactive bladder can be a nuisance at best, and debilitating at worst. It’s frustrating to constantly be running to the bathroom, and can cause anxiety, shame and even depression when it is also accompanied by urinary incontinence. Contrary to what many people think, overactive bladder is NOT a normal part of getting older, and isn’t something you should think you have to live with. It’s a real medical condition that deserves treatment.



There are many hallmark symptoms of overactive bladder. Someone with overactive bladder typically has

  • Urinary urgency: feeling a sudden urge to urinate (even if you just emptied your bladder recently)
  • Experiencing urge incontinence, or the unintentional loss of urine immediately after an urgent need to urinate 
  • Frequent urination, usually more than eight times in 24 hours
  • Waking up more than once in the night to urinate (this is called nocturia) 



To understand the cause of Overactive Bladder, a basic understanding of how the urinary system operates is needed. The kidneys produce the urine and send it to the bladder. The bladder expands to hold the urine while the sphincter muscle acts as a spigot and controls the flow of urine. Basically on or off. As soon as your bladder gets approximately half full—most people can handle about 2 cups of urine—your brain is signaled that you need to empty it. The bladder muscles contract while the sphincter relaxes. When there is a coordination problem along this system, incontinence occurs.

With Overactive Bladder, a person may be suddenly aware of the urgency sensation but is unable to get to the toilet before losing control of his or her urine. Urine loss can be in large amounts that soak underwear and even outer clothing. Common triggers like hearing running water or simply the anticipation of urinating can cause a bladder spasm. In some cases, people who have physical limitations may not be able to reach the toilet in time, causing an accident.

Michigan Institute of Urology is one of the longest standing and largest sub-specialty urology practices in the State of Michigan, we are dedicated to providing our patients the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art urologic care. Our specialists have been recruited from the most sophisticated university centers in the United States and are available at all of our 22 office locations. Our administrative staff follows strict guidelines to ensure the most cost-effective medical care is provided. Michigan Institute of Urology, P.C., comprises 46 General and Fellowship Trained Urologists with a complement of compassionate, caring Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses, Medical Assistants, and Ancillary Personnel.



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