Underactive Bladder in Older Adults

Clin Geriatr Med. 2015 Nov;31(4):523-33. doi: 10.1016/j.cger.2015.06.002. Epub 2015 Jul 26.


Overactive bladder is one of the most common bladder problems, but an estimated 20 million Americans have underactive bladder (UAB), which makes going to the bathroom difficult, increases the risk of urinary tract infections, and even leads to institutionalization. This article provides an overview of UAB in older adults, and discusses the prevalence, predisposing factors, cause, clinical investigations, and treatments. At present, there is no effective therapy for UAB. A great deal of work still needs to be done on understanding the pathogenesis and the development of effective therapies.

Keywords: Aging; Overactive bladder; Underactive bladder; Urinary incontinence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms / etiology
  • Muscarinic Agonists / adverse effects
  • Muscarinic Agonists / therapeutic use*
  • Muscle Contraction / drug effects
  • Muscle, Smooth / physiopathology*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Bladder / physiopathology*
  • Urinary Bladder Diseases / complications
  • Urinary Bladder Diseases / therapy*


  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Muscarinic Agonists