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Overactive Bladder (OAB)

  • Overactive Bladder (OAB) is severe urinary urgency and frequency, or "urge incontinence". 
  • Urinary incontinence and OAB affect more than twice as many women as men; these problems are believed to be a significant health issue for aging women.
  • The prevalence of OAB is 30% to 40% in persons over 75 years of age.
  • To put this into perspective, in the elderly, OAB is more common than diabetes and is similar in prevalence to asthma.
  • OAB negatively impacts quality of life more severely than diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Individuals suffering from OAB often limit social interaction and excursions as a consequence of their condition. Planning ahead to locate accessible public toilets, a behavior called "toilet mapping," becomes a source of major anxiety.
  • Many assume that OAB is a normal symptom of aging. Thus, persons with this condition do not go for treatment and they may withdraw from social life, reluctant to discuss their condition with their physician, family, or friends.
  • Most cases of OAB can be managed using a combination of the currently available treatments: surgery, pharmacologic interventions, behavioral methods, devices, and alternative measures.
  • The use of estrogen in the form of a topical cream or vaginal ring often helps older women with vaginal atrophy and symptoms of OAB.

Click here for more information on incontinence.

Created: 7/11/2002  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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