Overactive bladder and fibromyalgia

What is Overactive Bladder? It may also be called sensory bladder or Urgency or Irritable Bladder or neurogenic bladder. These are terms used to describe a bladder condition that causes more frequent and urgent urination

fibromyalgia  and Overactive bladder

This need to urinate originates as a sensation in the bladder when the bladder fills. 

Many people who have fibromyalgia, and other chronic illnesses, do not get these messages.

The fibromyalgia connection with overactive bladder.
In July 2023 we did a Poll on irritable bladder in our Fibromyalgia group asking Do you get increase in urinary urgency or frequency (irritable bladder)? 33 said yes and 3 said no.
In this large 2012 study of 920 people they found overactive bladder (OAB) is associated with Fibromyalgia (FMS). Moreover FMS increases with severity of OAB.
This systematic controlled study in 2021 confirms that fibromyalgia is associated with overactive bladder symptoms. The relatively high prevalence of 93% indicates that overactive bladder is an important urological association of fibromyalgia and should be routinely assessed in these patients.

What goes wrong in Overactive bladder
Several muscles and nerves need to work together for our bladders to hold urine. Nerve muscles go back and forth between the brain and the muscles. If the nerves are damaged the muscles may not get the messages to relax or tighten at the right times. 
While this was not a large survey it does say that irritable bladder is experienced by a large percentage of people with Fibromyalgia.
Overactive bladder mechanics

Causes of Overactive Bladder.
There are many causes and you may have a combination of them:
  • Hormonal changes during menopause
  • Enlarged prostrate
  • Some medications
  • Kidney problems
  • Herniated disc
  • Neurological conditions
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Aging
  • Diabetes
  • Extra weight
  • Back or pelvic issues
What you should do if you have symptoms of Overactive bladder.
there are many treatment options so you should ask your doctor for a referal to a urologist if they cannot hel you. Below is an example of what would be the first options for treatment but there are also medications and surgical procedures. 
The following information is from The Urology Group which was founded in 1924, and provides Northern Virginia and Greater Washington area with the most up-to-date urologic care available.
First line treatments: Behavioral Therapy for Overactive Bladder
  • Fluids: Normal intake is 64 ounces (two liters) daily.
  • Avoid bladder irritants: Trial of Frequency/Urgency Diet, which includes caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, acidic foods, carbonated beverages. Quit smoking.
  • Weight loss: Weight loss of 8% decreases incontinence episodes in half.
  • Bladder retraining: Training your bladder to hold urine for longer and learning how to suppress the urge.
  • Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy: Four to six week course of therapy to identify and strengthen pelvic floor muscles. This often includes electrical stimulation of the muscles.


Overactive bladder patient guide PDF from Urology Care Foundation

Overactive bladder assessment tool PDF

Overactive bladder diary PDF

Managing OAB at work and on the go Fact Sheet


FIBRO CONNECT Facebook group poll.

The association between overactive bladder and fibromyalgia syndrome: a community survey.

The Urology Group First Line Treatments

fibromyalgia and the overactive bladder

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