Overactive Bladder (OAB)

Overactive Bladder is a type of bladder-control problem that occurs in both men and women, and includes symptoms such as a sudden, overwhelming urge to urinate, frequent urination, leakage, and having to urinate excessively during the night. This can negatively affect the overall quality of your life.

Although OAB affects approximately 33 million Americans, many people are reluctant to talk about it. Some people think that having an overactive bladder is just a natural part of getting older. While the symptoms of OAB may occur more often as people get older, that does not mean it has to be a normal part of aging. For many people an overactive bladder does not have to be a part of their life.

Discussing OAB with your physician can be the first step to getting help. Our dedicated team of medical professionals is committed to helping you on your personal journey through our OAB Treatment Pathway to help you obtain the highest bladder health possible. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of OAB, contact us today for help!

Symptoms of OAB

There are four main symptoms of an overactive bladder:

  • Urgency—the sudden uncontrollable overwhelming urge to urinate
  • Frequency—the need to urinate often (normal is 4-6 times a day)
  • Urge Incontinence—leakage accidents that follow a sudden urge to urinate
  • Nocturia—the need to urinate often at night (waking 2 or more times)

These symptoms may occur daily or may be sporadic.

How Is OAB Diagnosed?

  • Urinalysis: A urine sample is tested for infection, traces of blood, and other abnormalities.
  • Bladder Diary: A bladder diary is a useful tool that allows you to record and measure your liquid intake, urinary output, urinary frequency and leakages. A patient with OAB will show frequent, small urinations.
  • Bladder Survey: This is done to evaluate the impact of OAB on quality of life.  It can also be done to measure how well the treatment is working.
  • X-ray imaging is not done routinely, but a kidney ultrasound or CT scan can be useful if:
    • History of a possible neurogenic bladder
    • History of pain or blood in the urine
    • Suspicion of anatomical abnormalities
    • A urinary tract ultrasound can measure the prostate size (in men)
    • Cystoscopy is not done routinely unless:
    • Suspect bladder cancer (history of blood in the urine)
    • Bladder pain (rule out bladder pathology like stones or interstitial cystitis)
    • Significant obstructive symptoms (poor flow, straining)
    • Significant incontinence is present
  • Urodynamics: Bladder pressure studies that measure the function of the bladder. The indications are:
    • Complex history
      • Neurogenic bladder
      • Mixed incontinence (both stress and urge incontinence)
      • Previous pelvic or incontinence surgery
    • When there is no response to medication or the diagnosis unclear
    • Before invasive surgery

If you have been diagnosed with OAB, take Georgia Urology’s Bladder Survey to measure its severity and effect on your quality of life.