What Causes An Overactive Bladder

Overactive bladder is generally a condition wherein the person may experience a combination of symptoms that can make them urinate more frequently than usual. They may develop strong and uncontrollable urges to urinate several times, especially during the nighttime.

According to the Cleveland Clinic website, the person might experience a combination of various symptoms such as:

  • Frequent urination – The person may get the urge to run to the toilet several times a day. They urinate more often than usual.
  • Urinary urgency – They might get a sudden involuntary urge to evacuate their bladder. The urge is so strong that they cannot control the urine.
  • Urge incontinence – In this case, the person may reach the point where they cannot stop the urine from leaking, which is why they are compelled to run to the toilet immediately.
  • Nocturia – This condition can make a person wake up to urinate at least twice each night.   

Given below are the reasons that can lead to an overactive bladder:

Nerve damage

For your bladder to hold the urine until it is fully ready to evacuate itself, several muscles and nerves have to work in tandem. The function of these nerves and muscles that control the urination function might get affected due to distortions in the brain signals. In case the nerves are damaged due to some injury or illness, then it can also lead to bladder-related issues.  

Nerve damage can affect bladder function. The bladder fails to fill or empty itself properly. This can turn the bladder to become overactive, which pushes the urine out from the bladder even before the bladder fills itself. 

Weak pelvic muscle

Pregnancy and childbirth can lead to abdominal trauma that can lead to the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles are connected to the abdominal muscles, and hence any harm to the abdomen leads to the weakening of the pelvic muscle. Since the bladder is located in the pelvic region, weak pelvic muscles can affect its function and its ability to function normally.


The bacterial infection leads to urinary tract infection (UTI) and can also affect bladder function. The infection can cause irritation of the bladder muscles and nerves, which can make the bladder squeeze more urine randomly. This may cause a sudden urge to urinate, and the person may not be able to control their urges.


Having an excess of fat accumulation around the waist and abdominal region can put pressure on the organs that are present in the pelvic region. Body weight and obesity increase intra-abdominal pressure and cause mobility of organs, which can cause urinary incontinence. Therefore, maintaining a healthy weight is necessary to decrease the pressure on your bladder and other pelvic organs.  

Estrogen deficiency

Pre-menopausal and menopausal women are more susceptible to overactive bladder (OAB) conditions because of a drop in the levels of estrogen hormone. Low levels of estrogen can affect the functioning of the bladder and genital organs. This can lead to frequent urination, vaginal dryness, and pain during intercourse. This issue can be fixed, and bladder function can be restored with the help of estrogen therapy. One must talk to their urologist for more information regarding estrogen therapy.


According to the Healthline website, certain drugs can lead to overactive bladder. Drugs such as Diuretics, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, etc. can affect bladder function. Talk to your doctor in case you are experiencing a condition like an overactive bladder while you are using any of these drugs.


Tea and coffee are the biggest sources of caffeine. Excessive intake of caffeine can increase bladder activity and cause frequent urination. In case you are already having this condition then do not consume caffeine-based foods, otherwise it might exacerbate the symptoms.


Alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, and spirits can cause the contraction of the bladder muscles, which can lead to urine incontinence. The more you consume, the more you get an urge to urinate. 

Tips to eliminate the risk of overactive bladder

  • Exercising regularly will reduce your risk of developing this condition. Exercising boosts the flow of blood in your body. Performing Kegels, also called pelvic floor exercises, will be beneficial for the health of your pelvic organs.
  • Staying fit and maintaining proper weight will reduce the risk.
  • Getting treatment for conditions like UTI and diabetes, which can lead to OAB, can reduce the risk to a great extent.
  • Reducing the intake of caffeine-based foods will keep your bladder functioning optimally.  
  • Chronic drinkers must limit their alcohol consumption, or it is even better to stop its consumption. This will prevent the contraction of the bladder muscles, which will eliminate the risk of urine incontinence.

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