What is an overactive bladder?
Overactive bladder (OAB) is a very common condition that affects one in three Australians, according to the Continence Foundation of Australia. It causes a combination of symptoms related to involuntary urination. Here are the signs and symptoms you should know.
You get sudden urges to go
One of the classic overactive bladder symptoms is a sudden, uncontrollable urge to go. “We spend our younger years learning how to have our brains control our bladder, letting us empty our bladders when it is socially acceptable,” says urologist, Dr Aisha Khalali Taylor. “As we age as women, our bladders become defiant and start to want to overrule the brain, causing bladder contractions or spasms at times when it’s not socially acceptable.” Pregnancy and childbirth, as well as lower levels of oestrogen after menopause, can contribute to OAB in women. And although OAB is more common with age, it should not be considered a ‘normal’ part of ageing.
You have to go all the time
Along with a sudden urge, you may feel like you have to urinate constantly. This happens for one of two reasons, “Either the nerves that provide information about sensation [sensory nerves] receive, or think they receive, information about being full or irritated; or the nerves that send signals to the muscle of the bladder are too active, and the muscle contracts,” explains urogynecologist, Dr W. Thomas Gregory.