5 Symptoms of an Overactive Bladder

Do You Have to Go? 5 Symptoms of an Overactive Bladder

1 of
  • Got to Go?

    Got to Go?

    Every now and then having to urinate frequently is normal. If you drink large amounts of fluid, it makes sense that you might have to make more trips to the bathroom. Even certain foods make you need to urinate more.

    But when does “every now and then” become far too often? Overactive bladder (OAB) affects more than 13 million adults in the U.S., according to Weill Cornell Medical College.

    Click through the slideshow to learn five signs of an overactive bladder.

  • Sudden Urge to Urinate

    Sudden Urge to Urinate

    If you have an overactive bladder, you probably experience an intense, urgent, overwhelming need to urinate. Perhaps it’s so sudden that you have trouble making it to the bathroom in time.

    This symptom can occur at any time of day, regardless of where you are and what you’ve had to drink. It can happen if you’ve had nothing to drink for hours. It can even happen after you’ve already emptied your bladder.

  • Urinating Too Often

    Urinating Too Often

    In a 24-hour period, you shouldn’t need to urinate more than about eight times. If you find yourself going and going, until you’re certain you’ll wear a path to the restroom, you may have OAB. A full-feeling bladder should release more than just a few little drops. If you’re rushing to the restroom for only a small amount, something may not be quite right.

  • Disrupted Sleep

    Disrupted Sleep

    Overactive bladder may disrupt your sleep, waking you up two or more times a night to urinate. This symptom is also called nocturia. Nocturia becomes more common as we age, but repeated, disruptive overnight urges are a familiar sign of overactive bladder. Disrupted sleep on an ongoing basis can also have detrimental effects on your overall health, mood, and sense of wellbeing.

  • Accidents


    An “accident” is sure sign that something isn’t right. Accidents can be minor, like leaking a few drops just as you make it to the toilet. But accidents can also be more serious. If you lose control of your bladder and can’t stop yourself from urinating before you reach the bathroom, you may have overactive bladder. Whether an accident is minor or more serious, it’s unpleasant, possibly embarrassing, and may be cause for concern.

  • You’re Making Lifestyle Adjustments

    You’re Making Lifestyle Adjustments

    Do you find yourself immediately spotting restroom locations when you’re in public? Are you avoiding social situations simply because you’re worried about having an accident? If you’re making concessions to your urinary patterns, you probably have a case of overactive bladder.

    Overactive bladder symptoms can cause emotional distress and lead to isolation and depression. Untreated, OAB can become a quality of life issue.

  • What Can I Do About It?

    What Can I Do About It?

    If you have mild symptoms of overactive bladder, try following a fluid drinking schedule and avoid drinking right before going to bed. Limiting alcohol and caffeine can also help.

    Try performing exercises, like Kegels, that use muscle contractions to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. You can also work on training your bladder by delaying urination when possible and scheduling bathroom breaks.

    Wear protective undergarments to catch leaks, so you can go out in public with confidence.

  • When Should I See a Doctor?

    When Should I See a Doctor?

    If home remedies don’t work, see a doctor. Don’t let embarrassment keep you from discussing urinary problems. If you have other symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, and pain, see your doctor right away. Some symptoms of overactive bladder may indicate an underlying condition, such as urinary tract infection or diabetes. If you are diagnosed with overactive bladder, your doctor can help you with a treatment to get you back on track.