Irritable bladder is a general term for any persistent disorder that results in an involuntary loss of urine.
"Overactive bladder" or "spastic bladder" occurs when a person has a strong, sudden need to urinate and many women report the need is preceded (though not always) by a “tingling” sensation. A more clinical term is “Urge Incontinence.” The sudden involuntary loss of urine can be embarrassing sometimes inciting a pervasive fear of judgement by others limiting activity. In addition, it is expensive. The true total annual cost per woman for incontinence is over $2,000 for laundry, dry cleaning, damage to clothes and furniture.
The mechanisms that trigger irritable bladder are sometimes difficult to determine but certain foods, such as tomatoes, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, chocolate, and alcohol, can cause bladder symptoms. But if a sudden involuntary loss of urine is accompanied by pain, pressure or burning it may be interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome and a healthcare professional should be consulted immediately.