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Understanding Overactive Bladder

By Cheryl Ellis  Staff Writer

(Page 2 of 2)  


If functional abilities are compromised, such as in neurological disease, there may be nerve challenges affecting bladder control. Alzheimer’s patients may have trouble processing the need to go to the bathroom. Anyone can “train” themselves to create an overactive bladder, but it’s important for caregivers to note this. In the attempt to forestall “accidents”, caregivers may take their loved ones to the bathroom frequently.

This can contribute to the urge to urinate, and family members may become accustomed to visiting more often than needed.

Continence professionals and organizations like The National Association for Continence offer resources for individuals who want to know more about various types of incontinence. There are articles, media available for purchase, and free information on determining the actual problem. While the site is not intended to give medical advice, it serves as first steps toward identifying the problem, so medical staff can be informed.


Waking more than twice in a night can fall under the umbrella of “urge incontinence.”

However, it should be noted the amount of fluid consumed before bed, as well as any during the night. Some loved ones may complain about getting up to go, but in between bathroom jaunts, they may be having a small glass before going back to bed.

Medications that have diuretic effects figure into fluid intake and output as well. Cutting off liquids after a certain time may work in some cases, but those with memory challenges may not understand. Even a lucid individual will rasp at being given a “last call” before bedtime.

Upbeat commercials aside, it is in the caregiver’s and loved one’s best interests to examine all the factors contributing to the overactive bladder. Before the doctor writes the prescription, offer all details on consuming liquids, current over-the-counter and prescribed medications (including home herbal remedies and/or caffeine intake) before trying the “magic bullet.”


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