What Is The Main Cause Of An Overactive Bladder?

Overactive Bladder

An overactive bladder, often abbreviated to OAB, is a condition where the bladder can’t hold urine normally. This urinary condition can cause significant distress, and embarrassment, and even disrupt daily life. Understanding the causes of an overactive bladder can help people seek timely treatment and find the most appropriate solutions. In the UK, it’s estimated that between 12% and 17% of the population suffer from some form of OAB. So, what is the main cause of an overactive bladder?

Causes of Overactive Bladder

At the fundamental level, OAB is caused by the muscles of the bladder contracting involuntarily. These spontaneous contractions result in the sudden and often overwhelming need to urinate, even when the bladder isn’t full. These contractions can be caused by various factors, but it’s not always clear why they happen. Certain neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease can lead to an overactive bladder as they can interfere with the nerve signals involved in bladder control. Other times, it can be due to lifestyle choices, menopause, or the side effect of a medication. 


As people get older, their risk of developing an overactive bladder increases. This increase can be due to a natural decline in the body’s function and other health conditions commonly associated with ageing, such as enlarged prostate or hormonal changes in women.

Underlying Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions can contribute to an overactive bladder. These conditions include diabetes, urinary tract infections, bladder stones, and neurological disorders. Patients with these conditions often experience OAB symptoms due to the impact on the nerves controlling bladder function.

Lifestyle Factors

Lifestyle choices can also play a part in developing an overactive bladder. For example, excessive caffeine or alcohol intake can stimulate the bladder and cause frequent urination. Similarly, obesity can increase pressure on the bladder and contribute to OAB symptoms. 

Assessment and Diagnosis

If you suspect you may have an overactive bladder, it’s crucial to seek medical advice. Your GP can assess your symptoms, consider the possible underlying causes, and refer you to a specialist if necessary. Here in the UK, it’s not uncommon for patients to be referred to a urologist or a continence advisor.

The Urocare Clinic is one such place where comprehensive assessments are conducted. Tests may include a bladder diary, urine tests, ultrasound, or more complex studies like urodynamic testing. It’s through these assessments that a diagnosis is made, and an individualized treatment plan can be devised.

Related Articles

The Dos and Don’ts of Selecting a Plastic Surgeon

The Role of ECG-EEG Tests in Diagnosing Brain Disorders

10 reasons you need to visit a sports podiatrist.


Understanding the causes of overactive bladder is the first step to managing this condition. It’s important to remember that ageing, underlying medical conditions, and lifestyle factors are all significant contributors to an OAB. If you or someone you know may be experiencing symptoms of an OAB, don’t hesitate to reach out to healthcare professionals. There are numerous treatment options available, from lifestyle changes to medications and even surgery. Remember, it’s a common condition that can be managed effectively, and help is readily available.

Scroll to Top