What happens if overactive bladder goes untreated?

2 answers | Last updated: Oct 15, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

What happens if overactive bladder goes untreated?

Expert Answers

Dr. Leslie Kernisan is a senior medical editor at Caring.com and a clinical instructor in the University of California, San Francisco, Division of Geriatrics. She also provides housecalls and geriatric consultations in San Francisco.

The answer depends on what is causing the overactive bladder. Especially if the bladder problems are new or worse than usual, one should always start by getting a medical check-up. This is to make sure that the overactive bladder isn't being caused by a new problem, such as a urinary tract infection, diabetes, a medication side-effect, or delirium.

If it's a chronic problem that an overactive bladder causes urinary incontinence, doctors usually call this "urge incontinence."

The main problem with leaving a chronically overactive bladder untreated is that urge incontinence can really impact an older person's quality of life. In particular, urge incontinence has been linked to problems with:

"¢ Getting out of the house to socialize or participate in other activities

"¢ Mood and feelings of self-worth

"¢ Sleep

"¢ Depression and anxiety

In those people who are frail or have dementia, chronically sitting in wet underwear (or a wet diaper) may also cause skin to be painful and irritated, and may increase the chance of developing a skin infection or pressure sore.

To read about treatment options for overactive bladder, click here

Community Answers

Sweet ally answered...

if you are affrade to go to the pulbic bathrooms its not scary if your holding it to get to a serten place if u hold it for to long an do that for a while you will have a blader infection when it comes to that you have to see a doctor if you have to go to the bathroom its not a smart idea to hold it if you have to go than go