About Overactive Bladder

You’re not alone if you're frustrated by bladder control problems. Millions of people experience bladder issues at some time. That's why we used our expertise in sacral nerve stimulation to develop an innovative overactive bladder treatment for patients who have failed or could not tolerate more conservative treatments.


Bladder control problems prevent you from controlling when and how much you urinate. You may experience unexpected small or large leaks, use the bathroom very frequently, or you may have the feeling of not being able to completely empty your bladder. Some people experience a combination of these symptoms.


Normally, as your bladder stores urine, your pelvic floor muscles contract to support your bladder and hold urine in without leaking. Bladder control problems occur when your pelvic muscles weaken.1


There are different types of bladder control problems:

  • Frequent urges to urinate (urgency-frequency)
  • Inability to hold urine/leaking (urge incontinence)
  • Inability to urinate (complete urinary retention)
  • Incomplete bladder emptying (partial urinary retention)
  • Leaking due to abdominal contractions (stress incontinence) (InterStim Therapy does not treat stress incontinence)

Risk Factors

Menopause or an enlarged prostate may increase your risk for bladder control problems. Bladder control problems are not a natural part of aging. Pregnancy and childbirth, obesity, weak pelvic muscles, diabetes, prostate cancer, bladder cancer or stones, and neurological disorders can also be contributing factors. In addition, certain medications, high calcium levels, constipation, or inactivity can put you at risk.


Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and how they are affecting your day-to-day life. Your doctor will make a diagnosis based on your symptoms.


  1. “Neurophysiology of Micturition,” chapter 2, p23 in Female Urology, Urogynecology and Voiding Dysfunction, edited by Vasavada, et al, 2005.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 22 Sep 2010

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