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What is Overactive Bladder (OAB)?

More than 20 million women in the United States suffer from OAB.

OAB is characterized by a number of symptoms that can be physically burdensome and emotionally draining, including a strong urge to urinate right away and the need to urinate more often than usual, with or without leakage. The majority of women who suffer develop the condition between the ages of 45 and 64 years old.

Although OAB is a treatable medical condition, most women do not discuss their symptoms with a doctor and assume it’s a normal part of aging. Rather than seek treatment, many women try to manage their condition with coping strategies that include wearing pads and/or dark clothing, mapping out the nearest toilets, and avoiding social interactions outside the home.

Symptoms of OAB

You may be suffering from OAB if you have had 2 or more of the following symptoms for at least 3 months:  

Urinary Frequency

Frequent urination; typically more than 8 times in a 24-hour period.

Urinary Urgency

A strong, urgent need to urinate right away.

Urge Incontinence

More commonly known as "accidents," leaking or wetting yourself if you cannot control the urge to urinate.

The process of passing urine is complex, and involves many factors. Your kidneys, nerve signals and muscles work together to fill and empty the bladder. A problem anywhere in this process can contribute to overactive bladder.

Although the cause of overactive bladder is still unknown, OAB occurs when your bladder muscle contracts as the bladder is filling, leading to the symptoms of OAB.

Occurrence of OAB in Women

OAB is one of the top ten chronic conditions affecting women.

The majority of women who develop the condition are between the ages of 45 and 64 years old. Despite the fact that OAB is treatable, more than 80% of women with OAB don't seek treatment.