Overactive Bladder

What is OAB?

The term Over Active Bladder (OAB) is used to describe a collection of symptoms:

  • Urinary urgency: A sudden, intense urge to urinate that is difficult to defer.
  • Urge incontinence: Urinary urgency followed by the involuntary loss of urine.
  • Urinary frequency: Urinating more than a person’s average.
  • Nocturia: The interruption of sleep due to the need to urinate.

Suffering from the symptoms associated with OAB can have a detrimental effect on a person’s quality of life. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should discuss these with your doctor.

sacral plexus

Potential Causes and Risk Factors

OAB is generally caused by bladder muscles that are overly sensitive or overactive. This overactivity is caused by damage to the nervous system or to the nerves and muscles associated with the bladder.

The cause of the nerve damage is often unidentified. OAB symptoms of urinary urgency, urinary frequency or urge incontinence may be present in people with interstitial cystitis – also known as painful bladder syndrome - an enlarged prostate, or post-radical prostatectomy.

Several conditions may contribute to the signs and symptoms of OAB. These include:

  • Neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Certain medication
  • Damage resulting from a surgical procedure (surgical trauma)
  • Poor bladder habits

It is estimated that over 16% of the adult population suffer from one or more symptoms of OAB. Both men and women can suffer from OAB1.