Posted by: Thixia | March 13, 2008

How the Bladder Works

How a Normal Bladder Works

The bladder is a part of your body’s urinary system. Every time you eat and drink, your body absorbs liquids. Your kidneys then filter out the waste products from your body’s fluids and make urine, which is stored in your bladder. The bladder expands as it fills with urine, and contracts to empty.

Both your brain and your muscles are involved in peeing. When the bladder is full, nerves in your bladder signal the brain. That’s when you get the need “to go”. Once you reach the toilet, your brain sends a message to the large bladder muscle (the detrusor) to squeeze, or contract. At the same time, your brain tells the sphincter muscles that surround the tube that releases urine from the bladder (your urethra) to relax and let the urine through.

Normally, the bladder muscle is relaxed during filling and the muscles only contract when the bladder is emptying.

“Bladder control” means you urinate only when you want to.

The Overactive Bladder

An Overactive Bladder (OAB) is caused when the bladder muscle contracts involuntarily. This may result in feelings of urgently having to go to the bathroom – even when the bladder isn’t full – as well as making frequent trips to the bathroom. In some instances, accidental leakage of urine occurs.4 Overactive Bladder and other bladder control problems are medical conditions that prevent you from being able to control when you urinate.

Overactive Bladder is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • strong, sudden urges to go to the bathroom

    increased frequency of urination (more than eight times during a 24-hour period, often including two or more times at night)

  • These feelings may or may not be accompanied by:

    wetting accidents due to a sudden urge to urinate; this is also known as urge urinary incontinence

    You are not alone in living with a bladder control problem. An estimated 1 in 5 Canadians over the age of 35 share these problems5. While there is no consensus on all the different causes of OAB, one thing is certain: OAB is not normal in adults of any age, and you don’t have to live with it. Most OAB can be successfully treated.6 Doctors treat thousands of people with OAB every year.


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