Causes of Over-Active Bladder

Although urinary incontinence (UI) and an overactive bladder (OAB) are usually associated with aging, other risk factors include elevated body mass index (BMI), neurologic diseases, recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs), hypertension and diabetes, and elevated triglycerides.

We don’t exactly know what causes UI and OAB, but those with the condition suffer from being unable to fully control their bladder function. The main muscle of the bladder—the detrusor muscle—involuntary contracts regardless of the bladder volume, which leads to an urgent need to urinate.

When someone has OAB, damaged nerve cells cause the bladder to contract uncontrollably, resulting in leakage—or the strong sudden need to “go right away.”

What Can Cause Problems in the Urinary System?

Problems in the urinary system can be caused by aging, illness, or injury. As you age, changes in your kidney structure may cause them to lose some of their ability to remove waste from blood. As well, muscles in your ureters, bladder, and urethra tend to lose strength, resulting in leakage.

This can lead to more urinary infections, since bladder muscles do not tighten enough to empty your bladder completely. A decrease in muscle strength in your sphincters and the pelvis can also cause incontinence—the unwanted leakage of urine. Illness or injury can also prevent kidneys from filtering blood completely, or even block the passage of urine.