Overactive Bladder + Urge Urinary Incontinence

Our expert team will develop a plan so that you have fewer "gotta go now" moments.

Overactive Bladder

Millions of Americans experience frequency and urgency due to an overactive bladder. There are many treatments that can improve symptoms—and your quality of life.

Overactive bladder occurs when the bladder muscle contracts periodically and suddenly. This leads to the strong and sudden urge to urinate.

Overactive bladder is characterized by two main symptoms:

  • urinary frequency: going to the bathroom more than 8 times in 24 hours
    • nocturia: needing to urinate two or more times at night
  • urinary urgency: frequent, sudden, strong urges to urinate with little or no chance to postpone urination

Your symptoms may be triggered by certain cues, such as hearing running water or arriving home.

Our Online Learning Center has more information about the symptoms, causes, risk factors, and diagnosis of overactive bladder.

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Urge urinary incontinence (UUI) is a severe form of overactive bladder. This means that when your bladder muscle is hyperactive, you begin to urinate before making it to the bathroom. 

Approximately 40% of people with overactive bladder also have this type of incontinence.

Overactive bladder is a common condition that affects more than 30 million people in the United States. Approximately 40% of patients with OAB experience incontinence.

OAB can impact both men and women. Although the symptoms are similar regardless of gender, treatment options may differ, especially when OAB in men is caused by an enlarged prostate (also called benign prostatic hyperplasia).

There are many lifestyle changes and medical treatments that can help with OAB and UUI. These may include:

  • drinking fewer acidic beverages (coffee, tea, soda)
  • going to the bathroom on a schedule, not just when you feel the need to urinate
  • physical therapy exercises to strengthen your pelvic muscles
  • medications
  • Botox injections for the bladder (given in office, last for 6–9 months)
  • Interstim (a pacemaker for the bladder)
  • Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (20 minute, pain free sessions that use electrical stimulation to relax the bladder)

You and your doctor will work together to determine which treatment options are right for you.