It is estimated that over 33 million people in the United States are uncomfortable leaving their homes or meeting with friends because they have an overactive bladder that forces them to be close to a bathroom at all times.
People with an overactive bladder may urinate eight or more times in 24 hours and multiple times during the night. Sixty percent of elderly women and 30% of middle-aged men and women experience symptoms of an overactive bladder, urinary incontinence (leaking urine). Individuals often hesitate to share this problem with their physician.
An overactive bladder, sometimes called a “spastic bladder”, is the name given to a group of urinary symptoms. There are two types of urinary incontinence, although one can have both at once. They are urge and stress incontinence. Urge incontinence is the strong, sudden urge to urinate that cannot be ignored. When one does not get to the bathroom “in time” there may be an involuntary leakage of urine. Stress incontinence happens when people leak urine while sneezing, laughing or being physical.
When it is time to empty the bladder, a signal goes out to the brain which “tells” the muscles of the bladder to contract, pushing urine out and to empty the bladder. In people with overactive bladders, the muscles of the bladder start to contract involuntarily even when the volume of urine in the bladder is low. This involuntary contraction creates the urgent need to urinate.
Several conditions are associated with an overactive bladder. These include diabetes, certain medications, stroke, urinary tract infections, bladder stones, tumors and excessive consumption of alcohol or caffeine. In too many cases the cause is unknown; this is called an idiopathic overactive bladder condition.
Recent studies suggest that individuals with an overactive bladder have higher levels of inflammation. High levels of the inflammatory marker, C-reactive protein, and inflammatory cytokines are found in patients. When analyzing over 1800 men and 1800 women with overactive bladders, and adjusting for other conditions including smoking and alcohol consumption, the higher the C-reactive protein levels, the greater the odds of having urgent episodes and frequency. The clinicians concluded that there may be a role of inflammation in the development of this condition.
An overactive bladder is a common condition affecting all ages and has a severe impact on quality of life. Keeping the body and bladder in homeostasis, in balance, may be an important key to reducing the sudden urge to urinate.
Contact Dr. Hellen, she is there for you. No fee is charged for the first 30 minutes of consultation. She may be contacted by using this form or calling: 302.265.3870 (ET-USA).