An overactive bladder affects millions of individuals around the world. It is a common condition with a collection of urinary symptoms, the most frequent one being a sudden urge to urinate that feels unbearable. Some individuals with the condition experience incontinence and leak urine upon feeling the urge and some may have to go to the bathroom multiple times throughout the day and night. An overactive bladder is often a frustrating condition to live with as it can disturb the flow of work, sleep, social life, and exercise. Before treatment options can be considered, it is important to identify the causes of an overactive bladder.
Internal infections are the most common reason for an overactive bladder, in particular, urinary tract infections, which affect the kidneys, bladder, and tubes running between them (any part of the urinary system). The urinary tract removes excess water and waste from the body and the kidneys formulate urine by filtering the blood and removing surplus water and waste. The fluid then travels to the bladder and the bladder stores it until it is removed by the body. Other symptoms of a urinary tract infection may include a strong and frequent need to urinate, cloudy, strong-smelling or bloody urine, a burning sensation or pain when urinating, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.