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BCM - Baylor College of Medicine

Giving life to possible

Urology

Overactive Bladder/Urge Incontinence

Frequent urination or the inability to postpone urination when a sudden urge to void occurs is associated with what frequently is referred to as an overactive bladder.

This problem may be caused by a urinary tract infection, a neurologic disorder (multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, cerebrovascular accident), or the origin may be unknown.

Symptoms

Symptoms may include the following:

  • Frequent urination (more than 10 times/day or getting up to urinate more than twice per night)
  • Severe urge to empty the bladder even when only small amounts of urine are in it
  • The inability to postpone urination when a sudden urge to void occurs (called urge incontinence)

Treatment

There are several treatment options. Bladder training has been used to control urinary urgency and overactive bladder. Following timed voiding intervals the patient gradually reinforces cortical control over the bladder's sensory mechanism.

Combined with pelvic muscle exercises, bladder training and certain behavior modification techniques are excellent first-line treatments for the overactive bladder. These actions may be supplemented with medications.

If these methods fail to help the patient, more invasive techniques of Botox bladder injections or nerve activity modulation with InterStim are often very effective.