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Can overactive bladder lead to depression?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Functional urinary incontinence from depression or a similar emotional issue is rare, but it does happen. In such cases, the person does not want to go to the bathroom as a result. This is a form of functional incontinence, but you may also hear it called psychogenic incontinence. Therapy and medications may help treat this form of functional incontinence.

The brief answer is yes, an overactive bladder can lead to depression. Although more common in women, overactive bladder (OAB) can occur in men and women. The hallmarks of OAB are the sudden, strong and severe urges to urinate (sensations that are difficult to postpone) during the day and night. This can disrupt a person’s work and social life leading to loss of time at work, sleeping disorders, depression and embarrassment especially if OAB is associated with loss of urine (incontinence) while attempting to get to the bathroom.

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

For some people, bladder control problems can lead to depression because you may isolate yourself to avoid embarrassment from wetting accidents or leakage. You may shy away from activities you previously enjoyed, stop attending social gatherings and isolate yourself from family and friends. You may be inclined to stop exercising, and this can affect your physical and mental well-being.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.