Overview. Overactive bladder is a form of urinary incontinence in which sudden, involuntary contractions of the muscle surrounding the bladder produce an urgent need to urinate – often so sudden that the person with the condition is unable to make it to the bathroom in time (a condition known as urge incontinence). Although more common among older adults, it is not a normal part of aging. As many as one in 11 adults in the United States have suffered from an overactive bladder, but the majority fail to seek treatment, either because they are unaware that effective therapies are available or because they are embarrassed to bring the condition to the attention of their physician.
When there are problems with frequent urination (often defined as eight or more times in 24 hours), urinary urgency, and urge incontinence, it is important to bring these matters to the doctor’s attention.