Both overactive bladder and incontinence can cause an uncomfortable and frequent desire to urinate. The results from either condition can be embarrassing and frustrating. However, overactive bladder and incontinence are conditions with very different causes. Understanding the differences between these two syndromes is important for finding the best treatments. Read on to learn more.

Overactive Bladder

When the detrusor muscle in the bladder contracts more often than normal, it results in overactive bladder. When experiencing an overactive bladder, you may feel a sudden, overwhelming urge to urinate even when the bladder isn’t completely full.


Typically, people with overactive bladder get the urge to urinate more than 8 times in 24 hours, including 2 more times per night. Overactive bladder affects men and women of all ages, but most are under the age of 65.


The symptoms and causes of incontinence differ from those of overactive bladder. Urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine. When muscles around your urethra weaken, they can no longer prevent urine in your bladder from escaping as the bladder pressure rises. Increased abdominal pressure from minor actions, like coughing or sneezing, often results in leaking.


The bladder can experience abnormal contractions due to damage from disease, spinal cord damage, or an irritated bladder. Incontinence affects many women after vaginal childbirth, menopause, and aging. According to WebMD, while those with an overactive bladder will feel a strong urge to urinate, they don’t necessarily leak urine like people with incontinence.


It is common for people with symptoms of overactive bladder to also experience incontinence. Currently, no single treatment alleviates both conditions. If you have mixed symptoms, you will need to treat each one individually. In rare cases, you may need medical or surgical intervention. Luckily, there are many behavioral treatments that are very successful in treating each condition.

Overactive Bladder

  • Maintaining or achieving a healthy weight
  • Scheduled bathroom trips
  • Fully emptying the bladder each time you urinate
  • Absorbent pads
  • Bladder training



  • Biofeedback to learn how your body behaves
  • Kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles that support the bladder
  • Strengthening the pelvis and bladder with weighted cones
  • Frequently going to the restroom, especially before vigorous activity
  • Avoiding caffeine and minimizing fluid intake before activities or sleep
  • Absorbent pads


How We Can Help

At Medical Supply Department, patient comfort is our priority. We offer incontinence supplies to help put your patients at ease as they cope with the condition. We have absorbent pads and briefs, bedwetting alarms, odor eliminators, and more incontinence accessories to discreetly manage any leaks.


Our incontinence supplies are also a great option for those with an overactive bladder who experience mixed symptoms of incontinence. Learn more about the incontinence supplies we carry and which can help your patients by visiting our website here.




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