More than 17 million Americans suffer from overactive bladders. Unlike stress incontinence, which involves the escape of a small amount of urine with a cough or sneeze, loss of control with overactive bladder results in the emptying of the entire bladder.
Those with overactive bladders experience at least two of three major symptoms: a need to empty the bladder more than eight times in 24 hours; sudden sensations of urgency; and urge incontinence (a leakage of urine or total bladder emptying if the urge is very strong or the toilet cannot be reached quickly).
While the underlying cause of the problem may remain unknown, overactive bladder may be effectively treated with bladder training and/or drugs known as antimuscarinic agents. Unlike stress incontinence, which is primarily a problem for women, overactive bladder afflicts both men and women in about equal numbers and can occur at any age.