Urinary urgency is a sudden, compelling urge to urinate. MedNet defines it as "an immediate unstoppable urge to urinate, due to a sudden involuntary contraction of the muscular wall of the bladder."
It is often, though not necessarily, associated with urinary incontinence, polyuria, nocturia, and interstitial cystitis. It tends to increase with age. When uncontrollable, it is described as urge incontinence.
Urinary urgency often occurs as a result of irritation and/or inflammation of the bladder wall (urothelium). In interstitial cystitis, urinary frequency and urgency are the hallmark symptoms, in addition to nocturia and dyspareunia.
In many cases, these symptoms may be exacerbated by the consumption of certain foods or beverages, such as caffeine, particularly coffee, regular tea, green tea, soda, diet soda and fruit juice. Cranberry juice, for example, may cause extreme urgency in those experiencing such urgency.
Urininary urgency may be as a result of anxiety or in some cases extended sexual arousal. When a human male is attracted to a mate, there is an autonomic nervous system response, and the body is therefore not entirely under conscious control, with many hormones including norepinephrine being released in the parasympathetic system in a cascade of ways designed by genetics to make the male more likely to breed. Specifically, the release of norepinephrine will lead to sweaty palms, inability to find words, rough and lowered voice, increased need to blink and urinary urgency.
Urininary urgency has been described as being similar to a fight-or-flight response, with the body working to rid itself of extra weight, the most readily available being in the form of water, which leads to frequent urination.