Urine is a substance in the body that allows toxins to be expelled from the body. Kidneys filter fluids and blood removes toxins, and then sends them to the bladder.
The bladder will store urine until a person urinates. Upon urination, the urine is expelled through the urethra.
Certain conditions can affect the urinary system. Various lower urinary tract symptoms can occur. These can be unpleasant and sometimes even embarrassing.
Urinary urgency is a relatively common problem. It leads to frequent urination. The patient will also find that they have a consistent urge to urinate. The condition has several potential causes. It can affect both men and women. In men, problems with the prostate often lead to these symptoms.
We take a look at what urinary urgency is. We also consider symptoms, causes, and how the condition can be treated.
What Is Urinary Urgency?
Urinary urgency is sometimes also referred to as frequent urination. This is not a condition on its own. Instead, urinary urgency is rather considered a symptom. Several conditions may lead to the development of urinary urgency as a symptom.
The main sign of urinary urgency tends to be a consistent urge to urinate. The patient may feel that their bladder is not emptying completely. The patient will feel like they have to urinate again shortly after urinating.
There are times were urinary urgency would not cause serious problems. In such a case, a few simple remedies and strategies may be used as treatment options. The patient will usually be able to continue with their daily life like they normally do.
This is not always the case, however. In certain scenarios, urinary urgency can be a more disruptive symptom. The patient may find that it greatly interferes with their ability to continue with their daily routine.
In more severe cases, urinary urgency may also lead to psychological complications. Anxiety is a common issue linked to urinary urgency. The patient may have anxious feelings when they visit a shop or when they are about to enter a meeting. They will be unsure if they will be able to make it through a specific event. The anxiety may be even greater when a bathroom is not close to the patient during such an event.
Urinary tract problems can cause this problem to develop. The prostate in men also plays a part in some scenarios. There may be accompanying symptoms that can cause further disruption of the patient’s daily routine. This may include pain in the abdominal region. Some patients also describe discomfort in the urinary tract.
Types Of Urinary Urgency
Urinary urgency is a general term that is used to describe a frequent or consistent urge to urinate. There are different types of urinary urgency that patients should take note of.
By recognizing the fact that there are different types of this problem, it is possible to take more appropriate action. In such a case, treatments and remedies used may prove to be more effective.
We share a quick overview of the specific types of urinary urgency below. Patients should consider the specific symptoms they experience. This will help them determine the type of urinary urgency they may have.
- Urinary Urgency: The standard type of urinary urgency refers to a lower urinary tract symptom. The patient will have episodes of urgently having to urinate. These episodes will come on suddenly. They are generally entirely unexpected. This is what makes the symptom such an inconvenience.
- Urinary Urgency Incontinence: This symptom is sometimes referred to as UUI. It is often also referred to simply as urinary incontinence. In this particular case, the incontinence will be associated with urinary urgency. It will not occur alone. The patient may find that they leak a small amount of urine when they experience an episode of urinary urgency. This can lead to embarrassing effects, especially if the patient finds themselves in a public situation.
- Overactive Bladder Syndrome: Also known as OAB syndrome for short, this is another type of urinary urgency that some patients experience. The bladder is overactive. This type of urinary urgency comes with several accompanying symptoms. The patient may often find that an overactive bladder is accompanied by urinary urgency incontinence. Nocturia is another problem that patients with an overactive frequently complain about. This may interfere with the person’s ability to get a peaceful night’s sleep. This syndrome can only be diagnosed if the symptoms are present without a urinary tract infection. The doctor also needs to look for other physiological factors and rule out potential causes apart from overactive bladder syndrome.
Some complications can develop when urinary urgency goes untreated. This is why both men and women need to take action.
Understanding the symptoms that signal the presence of urinary urgency is important. There are also some accompanying symptoms that patients need to look out for. These may sometimes signal a serious underlying problem that needs to be addressed before complications develop.
The main symptom associated with urinary urgency is a consistent urge to urinate. The patient may often find that the urge comes on suddenly. This can be unpleasant in certain public situations. Consider a scenario where the patient has a sudden need to urinate during an important meeting.
It is essential to understand that urination may occur even if the patient does not have a full bladder. This is due to the pressure that builds up inside the individual’s bladder.
The increased pressure makes it hard for the patient to hold their urine. It may also lead to urinary incontinence. This is especially the case if there is no nearby restroom for the patient to use.
The frequency of urinary urgency varies from one patient to the next. Some patients find that it occurs frequently. This can even lead to a significant interruption in the patient’s day-to-day life. Others find that it does not occur as frequently.
Nocturia sometimes occurs alongside urinary urgency. This is a condition where the patient needs to urinate frequently at night. The individual may wake up frequently with an urge to urinate.
In some patients, urinary incontinence and urinary urgency develop together. This may also lead to urine leaking out in the event of a sudden movement. Such sudden movements may include laughing and coughing, as well as sneezing.
There are several potential causes of urinary urgency to develop. Patients should understand what the causes behind the condition may be. This will allow a patient to determine why they might have developed the symptoms.
When a patient complains about urgency, a doctor will need to determine the cause. This allows the doctor to provide the patient with a targeted treatment strategy. By targeting the underlying causes, treatment will generally be more successful.
There are a few differences between the causes in men and women.
In the majority of cases, urinary urgency is not caused by a severe underlying problem. It can still have a significant impact on a patient’s life, however. There are also a few causes that can be more serious.
- Overactive bladder: Many patients find that their urgency is caused by an overactive bladder. In this scenario, the bladder causes pressure on the patient’s urethra. This causes urine to flow from the bladder to the urethra. Urine is released even in the patient does not have a full bladder.
- Urinary Tract Infect: Often also referred to as a UTI. This refers to an infection that develops in the lower urinary tract. Urinary urgency is only one symptom associated with a urinary tract infection. There may also be a burning sensation when the patient urinates. Some patients notice cloudy urine. There are also cases where a UTI causes blood to appear in the urine.
- Diabetes: Type 2 diabetes is a common condition that affects a significant number of people throughout the world. The condition causes damage to nerves. It can lead to other problems, too, some of which can affect the renal system. Patients with diabetes may find that nerve damage occurs in the bladder. This affects the bladder’s ability to contract when the person is not urinating effectively. Diabetes also increases a person’s risk of a urinary tract infection.
- Stomach Pressure: Some factors may cause excess pressure on the stomach. This type of problem can also lead to the development of urinary urgency. Obesity is an important factor to consider in this case. The excess weight can apply pressure to the stomach and the lower urinary tract. Pregnancy is also known to cause an increase in pressure within the abdomen.
Infection in some regions of the pelvis area can also cause these symptoms. In women, a vaginal infection may lead to urinary urgency.
Among men, issues that affect the prostate may lead to urinary urgency. A common reason for this symptom in men is an enlarged prostate. This condition is also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia. It causes the prostate gland to become enlarged.
The enlargement of the prostate gland puts pressure on the neck of the patient’s bladder. It also leads to pressure on the urethra. Urinary urgency is only one lower urinary tract symptom that may occur. Other symptoms may also develop.
Other reasons why a person may develop urinary urgency include:
- Excessive consumption of liquid. Caffeine and alcohol both act as diuretics in the body. This can lead to an increase in urine collection in the bladder. It can cause a frequent urge to urinate in the patient.
- Some medications can cause urinary urgency too. Diuretics are common causes of urinary urgency. These medications cause a buildup of urine in the bladder and lead to pressure in the region.
Interstitial cystitis, damage to the abdominal cavity, and an infection in the prostate have also been linked to a higher risk of urinary urgency.
Diagnosing urinary urgency is a critical part of providing relief to a patient. This is because there are different causes linked to the symptom. A doctor needs to determine why the patient has developed urinary urgency.
The process of diagnosing the underlying cause starts with a physical examination. The patient may visit a general practitioner. The practitioner may advise the patient to see a specialist. This is generally the case if a more serious problem is suspected.
The doctor will ask the patient about the symptoms they are experiencing. The doctor will not only ask about urinary urgency. The patient needs to provide the doctor details of the additional symptoms they experience. The doctor will be able to determine a suspected cause by considering the symptoms.
Furthermore, the doctor also needs to conduct a physical examination of the patient. The doctor will feel the abdominal region of the patient. This will allow the doctor to determine if there are abnormalities, such as swelling and enlargement.
If a prostate problem is expected, then the doctor may advise the patient to undergo a digital rectal exam. This involves the doctor putting a finger into the rectum of the patient.
A glove is worn during the procedure. The glove is also lubricated to reduce discomfort. This test allows the doctor to feel if the prostate is enlarged or if there may be other problems.
A few tests may also be conducted. Blood samples and urine samples may be collected. This allows the doctor to test for a urinary tract infection, as well as other conditions. In men, PSA levels may be measured too.
Treatments And Home Remedies
Different treatment options can be used to assist in providing a patient relief of urinary urgency. The specific treatment will depend on the cause behind the symptoms a patient experiences. This is why a diagnosis from a doctor is important. The doctor will be able to conduct certain tests. They will then provide treatment that addresses the underlying causes.
These are some of the more common treatments offered to patients with urinary urgency:
- The doctor may advise the patient to make a few lifestyle changes. If the patient drinks a lot of coffee and alcohol, they may be advised to reduce their intake of these beverages. This may help to reduce urine collection in the bladder.
- The patient may be advised to lose weight if they are overweight or obese. The excess weight causes pressure on the bladder. By reaching a healthy weight, the pressure will be relieved.
- Bladder training is sometimes advised. This involves a special strategy that teaches the patient ways to gain better control of their bladder. Timed voiding is one of the most important factors related to bladder training. A diary will be kept by the patient. The dairy will be presented to the doctor with each consultation. This also helps the doctor determine if treatments are effective.
- Physical therapy is another option that may be provided. The patient may also be told to do Kegel exercises.
Underlying causes, such as prostate cancer or benign prostatic hyperplasia, will be treated if these conditions are present.
There are a few ways to reduce the risk. A patient should ensure they maintain a healthy weight. A diet that is free of unhealthy foods should be followed. Enough liquids should be consumed, but alcohol and coffee should be limited.
The patient should try to create a urination routine for themselves. Avoiding smoking can also be an effective preventative strategy.
Physical exercise and Kegel training can help improve muscle strength. This may also provide better support or the bladder.
The major complication associated with urinary urgency is a disruption in a patient’s daily routine. This becomes a more serious concern if the patient does not manage the condition that causes urinary urgency. There is also a risk of psychological complications.
Patients do seem to be at risk of anxiety if they have urinary urgency. Some individuals also seem to become less active if they have the condition. The patient may fear urinary incontinence or a sudden urge to urinate during physical activity.
Urinary urgency is a consistent urge to urinate. The patient may urinate more frequently than usual. Accompanying symptoms may sometimes be present alongside the urinary urgency. It is important to understand when to see a doctor and recognize a more serious problem.
The diagnosis involves a physical exam and usually additional tests. There are several treatments available, depending on the specific cause behind the symptoms. Home remedies may also provide relief in milder cases of urinary urgency.