Most men and women can hold their urine for 15-20 minutes after the first urge to urinate.  If you feel a near-constant need to urinate, or feel as though you can’t ‘hold on’ when you do need to go, this is likely to be an overactive bladder. This differs from stress incontinence, when the pelvic floor muscles are too weak to prevent urination.

Urge Incontinence

Urge incontinence is twice as common among women as men and is caused by damage to nerves in the bladder or muscle, bladder stones, infection or bladder inflammation. But in most cases, no cause can be found.

Leakage occurs because the bladder muscles squeeze or contract at the wrong times, not just when your bladder is full.

Incontinence in Men

Many men suffer overactive bladder and flow problems because of an enlarging prostate which can block the urethra — the tube in the penis which carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.

Incontinence in Women

There are drug treatments for an overactive bladder. It can be stabilized with drugs which work by decreasing the nerve stimulation of the bladder muscle.

Men and women who use these drugs may experience some side effects such as constipation, dry mouth and dry eyes. There’s a new prescription drug available called mirabegron, (Mybetriq), which works by relaxing muscles in the bladder.

Bottom Line: Overactive bladder affects millions of American men and women.  The treatment requires an evaluation by a urologist or a gynecologist.  Most of those who suffer from overactive bladder can be helped with medication.