Urinary urgency consists in a spasmodic contraction, often painful, in which an individual feels a sudden, compelling urge to urinate. It often results in no urine output or urine output of small quantities. 

The frequent urge to urinate can be caused by a problem with the detrusor muscles in the wall of the bladder. These muscles relax to allow the bladder to fill with urine and then contract once an individual has gone to the bathroom to let the urine out. Sometimes, the detrusor muscles contract too often, thus creating a constant need to urinate. This is known as an overactive bladder and it may be caused by too much alcohol or caffeine consumption, poor fluid intake, constipation, certain medications, etc.

There are also different conditions that may underlie urinary urgency: cystitis, prostatitis, urolithiasis, urinary tract diseases, or diseases involving the prostate. It can be accompanied by a burning sensation, especially during urination and is generally associated with pain/feeling of tension in the bladder, urinary frequency (exaggerated increase in the need to urinate without the increase in volume of urine output itself), stranguria (painful urination associated with tenesmus with difficult emission of urine), and nocturia (a condition characterized by the frequent need to urinate at night).

Having an overactive bladder can cause other problems as well. Rushing to the bathroom can lead to falls and broken bones. It can also cause skin problems, sleeping disturbances, depression, urinary tract infections or have impacts on an individual’s personal life. Seeking medical attention is recommended in order to avoid further complications.


What diseases may be associated with urinary urgency?

Diseases that may be associated with bladder tenesmus include the following:


  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia
  • Tetanus
  • Prostitis
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Urolithiasis
  • Trichomonas
  • Cystitis
  • Urethritis
  • Renal colic
  • BPH


Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive and it is always a good idea to consult with a doctor regarding any questions or concerns.


What are possible treatment options for urinary urgency?

Specific treatment therapy for urinary urgency is significantly linked to the exact cause of an individual’s condition (cancer, cystitis, prostatitis, etc) and the frequency of urine output. It is best to avoid “do it yourself” remedies and contact a doctor regarding any concerns. Antibiotic treatment may be recommended to help ease discomfort and making lifestyle changes such as monitoring liquid consumption and urine output or adjusting medications can also help.

No individual should underestimate the onset of the disorder, as it can lead to more severe complications.


When is it advised to consult with a doctor regarding urinary urgency? 

Contacting a doctor is highly advised in cases where an individual has already received diagnosis of urinary urgency or is at risk of a disease associated with this condition (see list of associated diseases).  

In most cases, frequent or urgent urination signals an underlying health condition and visiting a doctor is important in cases involving symptoms such as:


  • Sudden weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Fever/chills
  • Tiredness
  • Blood in the urine
  • Foul smelling or cloudy urine
  • Abdominal pain
  • Increased appetite/thirst
  • Discharge from the penis or vagina