What Causes an Overactive Bladder?
An overactive bladder is a particularly embarrassing condition that puts sufferers in urgent need of a restroom. The condition is actually a symptom of a number of medical disorders and has numerous causes. According to the National Association for Continence, 1 in 5 adults over 40 suffer from the symptoms of an overactive bladder.
Overactive bladder occurs when you have a sudden urge to urinate, often accompanied by loss of urine if you don’t get to a restroom quickly enough. Other symptoms of overactive bladder include urinating eight or more times in a 24-hour period or urinating two or more times during the night. While more often a problem in women, men can also experience overactive bladder symptoms.
Urge incontinence, or involuntary loss of urine after experiencing a strong urge to urinate, occurs when the bladder muscles contract involuntarily or the sphincter muscles keeping the urine in the bladder relax prematurely. Nerve or muscle damage can cause this problem, as can obesity. Other causes for this type of problem include Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, stroke or multiple sclerosis. Aging can also cause this urge incontinence. According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Clearinghouse, older women are more likely than younger women to experience urge incontinence.
Childbirth, menopause or prostate cancer treatment in men can result in stress urinary incontinence. If you have this type of urinary disorder, minor things such as coughing, laughing, exercising or sneezing can cause you to leak urine. Weakness in the pelvic floor muscles or urinary sphincter can cause the leakage.
Chronic Urinary Retention
Some diseases and condition cause more urine to be produced than the bladder is capable of holding. When the bladder becomes too full, leakage results. Conditions that can cause chronic urine retention include polio, shingles, spinal cord injuries, an enlarged prostate gland, pelvic trauma, multiple sclerosis, polio, pelvic surgery or pelvic organ prolapse in women.
Incontinence can sometimes be a temporary side effect after such surgeries as prostate removal, a hysterectomy, rectal or lower intestinal surgery or a cesarean section. In some cases, incontinence may be unrelated to a physical cause and may result from mobility issues or diseases like arthritis that can make it difficult to work zippers and buttons.