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Overactive Bladder Information Sheets 

Overactive Bladder

The overactive bladder is characterised by urinary frequency (8 or greater voids in 24 hours) and urgency (a strong desire to void) with or without urge incontinence (involuntary loss of urine with urgency). This condition affects 15% of adults with half experiencing urge incontinence. Women are affected more frequently than men and the incidence increases with advancing age.

Causes Of Overactive Bladder

Unstable bladder:

Involuntary bladder contraction resulting in urgency or incontinence and may be related to the bladder muscle contracting to quickly. Common triggers include washing hands, putting the key in the door and anxiety.

Hyper-sensitive bladder:

Urinary urgency and or pain or urge incontinence when the bladder does not contract. Some causes include infection, inflammation, foreign bodies or tumours.

Detrusor hyperreflexia:

When the unstable bladder is due to neurological disease (ie. spinal cord injuries, parkinsons, alzhiemers, multiple sclerosis).


Diagnosis is made by a combination of history, examination and investigation by your doctor. Infection is usually excluded with a urine test. Your doctor may ask you to complete a 24-hour urinary diary. This is an excellent means of confirming how many times you void, the volume voided and the amount of incontinence experienced. Your fluid intake may also be recorded. Women with a hypersensitive bladder classically pass small amounts of urine frequently. Women with an unstable bladder may have normal urinary frequency but experience significant urge incontinence. Urodynamics may be required to confirm the diagnosis.


The overactive bladder is a treatable condition that you should discuss with your doctor.

The treatment options include behavioural therapy, medical and rarely surgical options.

Below are evidence based informations sheets that explain and clarify all the different topics.

Overactive Bladder

Treatment of an Overactive Bladder

Bladder Training

Urinary Tract Infection in Women

Sacral Neuromodulation

Botox Injections for the Overactive Bladder

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