The Urinary System - The kidneys produce urine, which drains into your bladder. When you urinate, urine passes from your bladder through a tube called the urethra. A muscle in the urethra called the sphincter opens to release urine out of the body.
As your bladder fills, nerve signals sent to your brain eventually trigger the need to urinate. When you urinate, these nerve signals coordinate the relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles and the muscles of the urethra (urinary sphincter muscles). The muscles of the bladder tighten (contract), pushing the urine out.
Overactive bladder - An overactive bladder causes a frequent and sudden urge to urinate that may be difficult to control. You may feel like you need to pass urine many times during the day and night and may also experience unintentional loss of urine - urgency incontinence. If you have an overactive bladder, you may feel embarrassed, isolate yourself, or limit your work and social life. The good news is that a brief evaluation can determine whether there's a specific cause for your overactive bladder symptoms.
You may be able to manage symptoms of an overactive bladder with simple behavioural strategies, such as dietary changes, timed voiding and bladder-holding techniques using your pelvic floor muscles. If these initial efforts don't help enough with your overactive bladder symptoms, additional treatments are available.
If you have an overactive bladder, you may:
- Feel a sudden urge to urinate that's difficult to control
- Experience unintentional loss of urine immediately after an urgent need to urinate (urgency incontinence)
- Urinate frequently, usually eight or more times in 24 hours
- Wake up more than two times in the night to urinate (nocturia)
Even if you are able to get to the toilet in time when you sense an urge to urinate, unexpected frequent urination and night-time urination can disrupt your life. An overactive bladder occurs because the muscles of the bladder start to contract involuntarily even when the volume of urine in your bladder is low. These involuntary contractions create an urgent need to urinate.
Several conditions may contribute to signs and symptoms of overactive bladder, including:
- Neurological disorders, such as stroke and multiple sclerosis
- Urinary tract infections that can cause symptoms similar to those of an overactive bladder
- Hormonal changes during menopause in women
- Abnormalities in the bladder, such as tumours or bladder stones
- Factors that obstruct bladder outflow — enlarged prostate, constipation or previous operations to treat other forms of incontinence
- Medications that cause a rapid increase in urine production or require that you take them with lots of fluids
- Excess consumption of caffeine or alcohol
- Declining cognitive function due to aging, which may make it more difficult for your bladder to understand the signals it receives from your brain
- Difficulty walking, which can lead to bladder urgency if you're unable to get to the bathroom quickly
- Incomplete bladder emptying, which may lead to symptoms of overactive bladder, as you have little urine storage space left
An overactive bladder can also be caused by:
- Emotional distress or depression
- Sleep disturbances and interrupted sleep cycles
- Issues with sexuality
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Get regular, daily physical activity and exercise
- Limit consumption of caffeine and alcohol
- Quitting smoking
Manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes, that might contribute to overactive bladder symptoms. Strengthen pelvic floor muscles by doing Kegel exercises — tighten (contract) the muscles, hold the contraction for two seconds and relax the muscles for three seconds. Work up to holding the contraction for five seconds and then 10 seconds at a time. Do three sets of 10 repetitions each day
Chinese Medicine - The bladder is linked to the kidneys which are associated with fear – this means excessive fear will weaken the kidneys, but irrational fear can also be a symptom of a kidney imbalance. When the bladder itself is out of balance, there may be negative emotions such as jealousy, suspicion, and inability to let go of grudges.