What is OAB and Who Gets It?
Overactive bladder is the name for a group of bladder symptoms. There are three main symptoms:
- A feeling that you have to go to the bathroom, urgently.
- Sometimes incontinence, which means that you leak urine with the “gotta go” feeling.
- Usually the need to go to the bathroom often (frequently), day and night.
With OAB, you feel that you need to empty your bladder – even when it’s not full. This leads to the feeling that you need a bathroom quickly, right now. You can’t control or ignore this feeling. (Although it may feel like your bladder muscle is squeezing to empty your bladder, in actual fact your bladder muscle may not be squeezing.) If you “gotta go” eight or more times each day and night, or fear that urine will leak out before you’re ready, you may have OAB.
OAB affects about 33 million Americans. It’s not a normal part of aging. It’s a health problem that can last for a long time if it’s not treated. Many older men (30%) and women (40%) struggle with OAB symptoms. Often people don’t know about treatments that can help, or they don’t ask for help.
Stress urinary incontinence or SUI is a different bladder problem. People with SUI leak urine while sneezing, laughing or being active. It is not the same as that sudden “gotta go” feeling from OAB. To learn more about SUI, go to http://www.urologymanagement.org/sui/.
In this guide you will find clear information about how to manage OAB. Please ask for help, even if you feel embarrassed. Don’t wait, because there are several treatments that work well for OAB. Your health care provider should be trained to talk with you and help you manage your symptoms without embarrassment.
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