21.10.2020

Frequent Urination, and Overactive Bladder (OAB)

What is Overactive Bladder (OAB)?

Overactive bladder or OAB in short is diagnosed mainly by the symptoms of:

  • urgency (a sudden compelling desire to pass urine that is difficult to delay)
  • with or without urge incontinence (uncontrollable leakage of urine accompanied by or immediately preceded by urgency)
  • usually with frequency (the need to pass urine too often in the day time) and nocturia (the need to wake up at night more than once to pass urine)
  • How frequent is the condition?

    OAB affects 11-22% of adults over 40 years old, the incidence increases with age

    What are the causes?

  • Psychological: Anxiety, stress, habit or social voiding and psychiatric conditions (e.g., obsessive compulsive neurosis)
  • Pharmacological: Certain medications like diuretics used to treat high blood pressure, heart, kidney or liver conditions, will increase urine production and cause frequent urination
  • Endocrinological: Diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus – deficiency or absence of the hormone insulin and anti-diuretic hormone respectively, resulting in increased urine production and output
  • Pathological: Urinary tract infection, menopause, pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic mass (uterine fibroid, ovarian cyst), bladder stone, bladder cancer, radiation treatment to bladder and pelvis, untreated heart failure, chronic cystitis, stress urinary incontinence, abnormal bladder contractions
  • What are the investigations?

    These would depend on the cause/s of OAB from your history and physical examination:

    Can it be treated?

    The treatment is tailored according to the cause/s of OAB:

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