Overactive Bladder (OAB)

  • Medical Author:
    Kevin C. Zorn, MD, FRCSC, FACS

    Dr. Kevin Zorn is a dual-board-certified (US and Canada), minimally-invasive uro-oncology, fellowship trained urologist at the University of Chicago. His main focus of clinical and scientific interest is in the surgical treatment of renal and prostate cancer. He is also an expert in performing surgery with the DaVinci Surgical Robotic System to manage localized prostate cancer and small renal masses. Dr. Zorn studied medicine and urology at McGill University in Montréal.

  • Medical Author: Abdullah Alenizi, MD
  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Are there any risk factors for overactive bladder?

Some of the common risk factors for overactive bladder include

Race is not a risk factor for overactive bladder as it can affect people of all races.

What are overactive bladder symptoms?

The symptoms of an overactive bladder include frequent urination, urgency of urination, and nocturia (urinating in the middle of the night), with or without urge incontinence. Overactive bladder may cause significant social, psychological, occupational, domestic, physical, and sexual problems. Again, these symptoms should not be considered a normal part of aging.

How is overactive bladder diagnosed?

Careful medical history and diligent review of symptoms related to overactive bladder are very important. Getting up to urinate at least three times in the middle of the night, increased urinary frequency (urinating at least eight times daily), urinary urgency, and urinary incontinence are all important clues in evaluating someone suspected of having overactive bladder.

In addition to a general physical examination, a pelvic exam in women (to assess for dryness, atrophy, inflammation, and/or infection) and a prostate examination in men (to assess for size, tenderness, texture, and/or masses) are helpful in excluding other contributing conditions.

Urine analysis (UA) to assess for infections and occasionally urine cytology (to look for cancer cells in the bladder) are sometimes advised in individuals undergoing evaluation of urinary incontinence and overactive bladder. Ultrasound measurement of the amount of urine left in the bladder after urination (called post-void residual) may also provide additional information about the cause of urinary incontinence (obstruction to urine flow or weak bladder muscle).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/26/2015

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