Not surprisingly, because we don’t talk openly about overactive bladder, there
are many misunderstandings about this troublesome problem. Here are some of
the more common myths about OAB:
Are bladder problems just a normal part of aging?
Although overactive bladder symptoms are more common as people get older, it
can happen at any age. Urinary incontinence is not a normal part of that
process. If you find you often feel an urgent and overwhelming need to
urinate, are making too many trips to the bathroom, and sometimes have
leakages, you may have a bladder problem and should contact your GP for
advice and treatment.
I’m relatively young – I can’t be suffering from OAB
Although it is most common in older individuals, OAB can affect people of
I’ll need to stay close to a toilet at all times
Bladder training techniques can help increase the time spent between toilet
breaks, helping reduce the number of bathroom visits made. This technique
also helps to reduce the occurrence of sudden urges to urinate so should
help you focus on your daily activities rather than the location of the
Overactive bladder is a woman’s disease
OAB is more common in women that in men – but only slightly so; large
numbers of men suffer negative effects on their quality of life that could
be alleviated by identifying and treating their condition.
Bladder symptoms in men indicate prostate disease
Urinary problems in men, especially older men, may be due to enlargement of
the prostate, but this is far from being the case in all men. As noted
above, men also commonly suffer from OAB.
Overactive bladder makes you leak when you laugh hard
Overactive bladder is a problem with the bladder-storage function that
causes a sudden, strong urge to urinate, which sometimes cause accidents.
Leaking urine when you laugh, cough, or exercise is a different condition,
called stress incontinence. It's possible to have both conditions, however.
Having a small bladder causes overactive bladder
Bladder size does not contribute to OAB. Overactive bladder is caused by
sudden and involuntary bladder contractions, which result in an overwhelming
urge to urinate. While bladder size does not affect OAB in men, the size of
their prostate might. An enlarged prostate may put pressure on the urethra
and contribute to OAB symptoms
You need to drink less water to control an overactive bladder
It’s not healthy to drastically reduce the amount of water you drink.
Although you'll make less urine, it may be more highly concentrated, which
can irritate the bladder. As a result, you might actually need to urinate
more often. Aim to drink six to eight cups of fluids spaced throughout the
There's nothing you can do about overactive bladder
It’s important to discuss symptoms of overactive bladder with your doctor
because effective treatments are available. Simple changes in diet, pelvic
muscle exercises, and bladder retraining, are very helpful in managing
bladder problems. Medication may also be prescribed.