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Caregiver consulting patient with Overactive Bladder.

Overactive Bladder

You can’t see a movie without needing to go. And no one wants to go on a road trip with you. Constantly racing to the bathroom is cramping your style.

Chances are, your overactive bladder (OAB) causes some embarrassment, stress and anxiety. Always leaking or needing to pee can keep you from doing what you want to do. It might also be hard to sleep through the night. And you even have a higher risk of falling because you’re always rushing to the bathroom. When your bladder works overtime, it might be all you think about.

But you don’t have to live like that. Cleveland Clinic’s healthcare providers have helped develop the leading treatment options for overactive bladder. We can help improve your bladder control — and restore your confidence.

Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Overactive Bladder Care?

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Industry leaders:

Our specially trained, board-certified urologists are leaders in the field. They’ve helped develop many of today’s most effective treatment options. They’ve also helped write the national guidelines on managing overactive bladder. Meet our team.

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Personalized care:

We focus on you, your needs and your lifestyle to decide which overactive bladder treatments are right for you — from lifestyle changes to medications to nerve stimulation.

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Virtual visits:

Sometimes it’s just easier to stay home, especially with OAB. That’s why we also offer virtual visits, in addition to in-person appointments. Virtual visits let you get the same great care online from your provider. All you need is an internet connection, smartphone, tablet or computer.

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National recognition:

Cleveland Clinic is a trusted healthcare leader. We're recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for our expertise and care.

Overactive Bladder Diagnosis at Cleveland Clinic

Our expert providers can quickly diagnose your issues with just a few tests. This means you can begin treatment as soon as possible.

During your first visit, our urologists (bladder specialists) and other healthcare providers will talk with you about your health, lifestyle and habits. They’ll want to understand:

  • The amount of liquid you drink in an average day.
  • What fluids you’re drinking (water? coffee? soda? alcohol?).
  • How often you have an urgent need to pee (urgency).
  • How often you can’t get to the bathroom in time and pee before getting to the toilet (urgency incontinence).
  • Any other health conditions or medications that might be contributing to your overactive bladder.
  • How OAB affects your life, such as interfering with social activities, exercise or sleep.
  • Whether you leak urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh or exert yourself (stress urinary incontinence).

We’ll do a physical exam and take a urine sample to look for possible causes of OAB, like an infection or other issues. We also may take pictures of your bladder during the same appointment using ultrasound.


Our healthcare providers see patients at convenient locations throughout Northeast Ohio, Florida and London.

Overactive Bladder Treatment at Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic offers many different options to help you feel in control of your overactive bladder. We’ve developed a step-wise approach to treatment. This means we start with lifestyle changes and exercises. If these don’t work, we’ll quickly move to more advanced treatments. We’ll talk to you about all of the options at your first appointment so you understand the process and what to expect from your treatment.

Lifestyle changes

You might be able to manage your overactive bladder by making small, but important, lifestyle changes, like:

  • Staying away from caffeine and alcohol.
  • Having a bathroom schedule.
  • Keeping a bladder diary (what and how much you drink and eat, how often you pee, if you leak, if you’re able to reach the bathroom in time, etc.).

Physical therapy

Physical therapy for your pelvic floor will help strengthen the muscles that support your bladder and urinary tract. Our physical therapists who specialize in this field will teach you Kegel exercises to train your bladder and surrounding muscles to hold your pee in more effectively without leaking or having the constant urge to go.

Oral medications

We can prescribe medications to relieve overactive bladder. Daily oral bladder relaxants can control the muscle spasms that make your bladder contract at the wrong times.

Botulinum toxin injections

We also may suggest botulinum toxin injections (Botox®) into your bladder. Cleveland Clinic urologists helped pioneer this treatment option. The injections relax your bladder muscle and relieve OAB for about six months. We can do these injections in the office and will numb the area first using local anesthesia.

Nerve stimulation

You might have OAB because your brain is sending abnormal signals to the nerves in your bladder. These signals make you need to pee. Cleveland Clinic researchers have helped develop and test unique nerve stimulation methods to treat OAB.

Tibial nerve stimulation

Tibial nerve stimulation targets a nerve that runs from your ankle up toward your bladder. We can stimulate this nerve with a very small needle. We’ll repeat this half-hour, in-office procedure once a week for 12 weeks and then once a month for as long as it helps.

Sacral neuromodulation

Cleveland Clinic urologists have been doing this procedure for over 30 years. We’ll place two thin wires through the skin near your tailbone and into your sacral nerve using X-ray guidance. Then, we’ll attach the wires to a very small temporary stimulator and tape the stimulator down near your buttock. The stimulator will send electrical signals to your sacral nerve, which can help calm signals to and from your bladder.

We’ll watch closely for a week or two to determine whether the stimulation controls your symptoms. If it does, we can implant the stimulator permanently during an in-office visit. The device’s battery lasts 10 to 15 years.

Before we plant a permanent device, we’ll test whether this approach works for you.

Taking the Next Step

If you find yourself constantly racing for the nearest bathroom, you’re not alone. Having an overactive bladder is common. You might think it’s a natural part of getting older. But it doesn’t have to be. At Cleveland Clinic, we treat thousands of people with OAB and understand how stressful it can be. We’re here to help you feel in control of your life (and bladder) again.

It’s easy to get an appointment with Cleveland Clinic experts to talk about your overactive bladder. We’re here to help.


It’s easy to get an appointment with Cleveland Clinic experts to talk about your overactive bladder. We’re here to help.

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