Overactive Bladder – often shortened to OAB – is a common medical condition. In fact, it is estimated to affect around 1 in 9 people worldwide.*1
What is OAB?
OAB is characterised by a set of four urinary symptoms.
- Urgency - The sudden, overwhelming desire to urinate that is really hard to put off.
- Frequency - The need to urinate frequently during the day, often defined as eight or more times over a 24-hour period.
- Nocturia - Waking at night to urinate, often one or more times.
- Urge Urinary Incontinence - This describes the involuntary loss or leakage of urine. A feeling of urgency – the sudden urge to ‘go’ – is often felt immediately before or during a leak.
This type of incontinence is usually caused by OAB. And although you can suffer from both OAB and Urge Urinary Incontinence at the same time, they are two different conditions that usually need to be treated separately.
OAB always includes the symptom of urgency, usually with frequency and nocturia, but it can be with or without incontinence.
What causes OAB?
OAB symptoms occur when nerves in the bladder send signals to the brain at the wrong time. Thinking the bladder is full, the brain tells the bladder to empty, squeezing the bladder muscle over-actively. It creates a sudden need to ‘go’. In some cases, the urge can be so sudden that you have trouble holding on and making it to the bathroom in time.
The good news is that OAB symptoms can be managed and improved with lifestyle changes and/or medical advice.
If you recognise these symptoms and think you may have OAB, it’s important you consult with your doctor for a correct diagnosis and management plan.
*Population based, cross-sectional survey of 19,165 men and women aged ≥ 18 years from Canada, Germany, Italy, Sweden and United Kingdom.1
1. Irwin DE et al. Eur Urology 2006;50:1306–15.