Overactive Bladder - Causes

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If known, what are the causes of or reasons for your overactive bladder?

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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),
  • strokes,
  • Parkinson's disease,
  • dementia,
  • multiple sclerosis, and
  • diabetic neuropathy.

Other causes of OAB symptoms include urinary tract infection, bladder stones, urethral strictures, benign prostatic enlargement (BPH), or bladder tumors.

Frequently, no apparent cause of overactive bladder can be determined (idiopathic overactive bladder).

Return to Overactive Bladder (OAB)

See what others are saying

Comment from: urine, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: July 08

I have had an overactive bladder since I was a kid. I go to the bathroom in the middle of the night about three times a night. I urinate at least over eight to times a day maybe more. I don't have a large prostate and I don't have cancer (Please I don't ever want that). I lived through that with my father. One doctor wanted me to take Leviquin. That would do more harm, than good to my body. Just take that anyway. No thank you. I am 47 years old today. I feel 20 years old.

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Comment from: Vilares, 75 or over Male (Caregiver) Published: March 21

My grandmother has overactive bladder, at least it"s what several doctors said. She as all the symptoms of an overactive bladder but she also has a sensation of burning inside the vagina when urinating, and sometimes she has a sensation of stinging in the bladder as if she had broken pieces of glass stinging the bladder, but then stops. This is consistent with overactive bladder or there"s something that is missing. She has all the urine and blood analyses within the normal parameters, no cells in the urine that might indicate cancer.

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