What to Do About Overactive Bladder Symptoms in Midlife

By Claire Gillespie
Reviewed by Alyssa Quimby, M.D.
October 03, 2022

A change in bladder control is one of the many possible symptoms of perimenopause—the years leading up to menopause—and this can increase your risk of developing an overactive bladder in midlife.

“Overactive bladder” (OAB) is actually something of a catchall term for a collection of symptoms relating to bladder control, such as urinating more often, experiencing sudden urges to urinate, and needing to urinate two or more times at night. According to the National Association for Continence (NAFC), overactive bladder affects an estimated 33 million people in the United States alone, with the prevalence being the same in men and women.

Causes of Overactive Bladder in Middle-Aged Women

For women in midlife, the NAFC lists the hormonal changes that can occur during perimenopause and menopause as a factor. “The bladder itself has thousands of estrogen receptors, and as the estrogen level changes—which happens during perimenopause—this can cause many issues with the bladder, including overactive bladder,” explains Jennifer Linehan, M.D., a urologist and associate professor of urologic oncology at the Saint John’s Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center, in Santa Monica, California.