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How Diabetes Can Affect Bladder Control

Diabetes can change your bladder control. It can cause your bladder to be overactive. Or it may be underactive. This can happen in people of any gender.

What causes changes in bladder control?

Diabetes can damage the nerves and muscles that control the bladder. If you also smoke or are overweight, these raise your risk for bladder problems.

Some medicines can make it hard to start peeing and keep it going. These include medicines to control blood pressure. One type of diabetes medicine lowers blood sugar by raising the amount of sugar in the urine. These medicines are called SGLT-2 inhibitors. They may cause you to pee more often. People taking these are also at higher risk for fungal infections in the genital area.

Overactive bladder

The symptoms of an overactive bladder include:

  • Needing to pee more often (8 or more times a day)

  • Needing to get up more than 1 time a night to pee (nocturia)

  • Having a sudden, strong urge to pee

  • Leaking urine after a sudden urge

An overactive bladder can be treated. Types of treatment include:

  • Exercises to strengthen the muscles that hold in pee

  • An electrical device

  • Medicine

  • Surgery (for severe cases)

Underactive bladder

The symptoms of an underactive bladder include:

  • Losing the urge to pee

  • Not being able to empty your bladder fully

  • Only able to pee in small amounts at a time (dribbling or weak stream)

  • Having a lot of urinary tract infections

An underactive bladder can be treated. Types of treatment include:

  • Medicine

  • Surgery

  • Changes in bathroom timing

Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Ricardo Rafael Correa Marquez MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2023
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