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What Is Overactive Bladder (OAB)?

According to the International Continence Society, OAB is defined as "urinary urgency, usually accompanied by frequency and nocturia, with or without urgency urinary incontinence, in the absence of urinary tract infection (UTI) or other obvious pathology." Urinary urgency is a sudden, strong desire to pass urine, which is very difficult to defer. Urinary frequency is generally considered the need to urinate at least 8 times per 24 hours, although this is variable depending on factors such as fluid intake, comorbidities, etc. Nocturia is the need to urinate one or more times during sleeping hours. Urge urinary incontinence refers to involuntary urine loss accompanied by urgency. For patients with OAB, these symptoms have a negative impact on psychosocial functioning and quality of life.


Haylen BT, de Ridder D, Freeman RM, et al. An International Urogynecological Association (IUGA)/International Continence Society (ICS) joint report on the terminology for female pelvic floor dysfunction. Neurourol Urodyn. 2010;29:4-20.