Overactive Bladder

Don't let an overactive bladder get in your way


You have a life to live, and at Henry Ford, our passion is helping you live your life to the fullest. We recognize that no two people are exactly the same. You are an individual with needs, goals, and circumstances that are unique to you and you alone. We understand how dealing with an overactive bladder can change your life. We will partner with you to determine your best treatment options. You’ll know exactly what your options are for treating your overactive bladder. And you’ll have your own personalized treatment plan.

Symptoms of overactive bladder

The symptoms of overactive bladder include, but are not limited to:

  • A strong, sudden urge to urinate
  • Frequent urination (eight or more times in 24 hours)
  • Awakening two or more times during the night out of a need to urinate
  • The involuntary loss of urine immediately following an urgent need to urinate

Contrary to popular belief, an overactive bladder is not a normal part of aging. Overactive bladder and urge incontinence may indicate a serious underlying problem, including cancer. That’s why, even if you’ve learned to live with overactive bladder, it's important to a pelvic medicine specialist for an accurate diagnosis.

Diagnosing overactive bladder

Overactive bladder is characterized by a sudden, uncomfortable need to urinate. It may be present with, or without urine leakage. Overactive bladder occurs when the smooth detrusor muscle of the bladder squeezes or contracts more often than normal, and at improper times.

If you think you may have over active bladder, it will be helpful to keep a urination diary, documenting symptoms, and recording frequency of urination.

Your Henry Ford pelvic medicine specialist will order a urinalysis to rule out infection and to look for glucose, blood, white cells or difficulty directing urine. After urination, urine remaining in the bladder is also checked using an ultrasound or catheterization. Sometimes an endoscopy of the bladder is warranted. It can also be helpful to perform bladder pressure testing to document detrusor activity during filling in order to look for any obstruction.

Overactive bladder treatment

Treatments may include pelvic floor exercises, physical therapy, and behavioral therapy. You may also want to change certain aspects of your diet - including the reduction of caffeine or alcohol intake, lose weight, or stop smoking.

Drugs that relax the detrusor or prevent a bladder contraction can be effective for overactive bladder and urge incontinence. Used as first line treatment options, side effects limit long-term use.

Surgery to treat overactive bladder may be recommended by your pelvic medicine specialist. At Henry Ford, our team leads in the development and use of minimally invasive and robotic surgery options.

Treatment may also include pessaries (insertable device to support the organs), bladder neck implants, sling procedures (tension-free transvaginal tape or transobturator tape), sacral nerve stimulation, or vaginal and laparoscopic bladder suspension. Other treatment options include interstim and posterior tibial nerve stimulation, or Botox injections, which have been FDA approved for neurogenic bladder.

Your Henry Ford pelvic medicine specialist will discuss your best options for overactive bladder treatment, answer your questions completely, and make recommendations for your best treatment plan.

Risk factors of overactive bladder

  • High urine production caused by poor kidney function or diabetes
  • Excess consumption of caffeine or alcohol
  • Neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, or stroke
  • Abnormalities in the bladder, such as tumors or bladder stones
  • Constipation or previous operations to treat other forms of incontinence
  • Medications that cause a rapid increase in urine production
  • Acute urinary tract infections can cause symptoms very similar to an overactive bladder

Overactive bladder prevention

Some forms of overactive bladder may be prevented.


  • Develop a routine of consistent, daily exercise
  • Control caffeine and alcohol consumption
  • Don’t smoke
  • Manage chronic conditions, especially diabetes
  • Exercise your pelvic floor muscles

Your Henry Ford pelvic medicine specialist will be happy to discuss the risk factors, how they may affect you, and also help you develop a plan to minimize your risk.

Make an appointment

Call (855) 302-1574 or submit an appointment request form.

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