Overactive Bladder (cont.)
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Overactive bladder (OAB) facts
- What is an overactive bladder?
- What are the causes of overactive bladder?
- Are there any risk factors for overactive bladder?
- What are overactive bladder symptoms?
- How do health-care professionals diagnose overactive bladder?
- What are the treatments for an overactive bladder?
- What is the role of medications in treating overactive bladder?
- Are there alternative therapies for OAB?
- What are treatments for the chronically incontinent?
- What measures can be taken at home to prevent overactive bladder symptoms?
- What are some of the complications of overactive bladder?
- What is the prognosis for overactive bladder?
- Find a local Urologist in your town
What are the causes of overactive bladder?
Overactive bladder is typically caused by early, uncontrolled contraction (spasms) of the bladder muscle (detrusor muscle), resulting in an urge to urinate. Overactive bladder is primarily a problem of the nerves and muscles of the bladder that allow for early contraction during the normal relaxation phase of bladder filling. The bladder's contraction in response to filling with urine is one the steps in the normal process of urination. The contraction and relaxation of the detrusor muscle is regulated by the nervous system. Approximately 300 cc of urine in the bladder can signal the nervous to trigger muscles of the bladder to coordinate urination. Voluntary control of the sphincter muscles at the opening of the bladder can hold the urine in the bladder for longer. Up to 600 cc of urine can be contained in a normal adult bladder. For those with OAB, the bladder capacity is typically low (< 200cc).
Overactive bladder typically results from inappropriate contraction of the detrusor muscle regardless of the amount of urine. The most common form of OAB is idiopathic, where the exact cause is not known. However, OAB can result from problems of the nervous system.
The common abnormalities of the nervous system that cause overactive bladder are
- spinal cord injury,
- back problems (disc hernia, degenerative disc disease),
- Parkinson's disease,
- multiple sclerosis, and
- diabetic neuropathy.
Frequently, no apparent cause of overactive bladder can be determined (idiopathic overactive bladder).
Find out what women really need.