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Overactive Bladder

What is it?

Overactive bladder (OAB) describes symptoms of a sudden urge to urinate. This is often associated with an increased frequency of voiding in the day or night time and can cause "accidents" or leaking of urine. This is referred to as 'urge incontinence'.

OAB affects between 10 - 15% of women and men around the world. It is often a cause of much personal distress and social embarrassment.

Various factors contribute to OAB. An imbalance of nerve signals from the brain, spinal cord and bladder to the detrusor muscles can cause the bladder to contract involuntarily and produce much of the symptoms.

Other risk factors include:

Older age

Female sex



Neurological disease


Prostatic obstruction

Alcohol and caffeine


An important step to overcoming OAB is to recognise that it may take a combination of treatments to achieve control. These can start with simple exercises and progress on to surgical interventions.

  • Lifestyle changes

    • Intake of caffeine, alcohol, smoking​

    • weight loss

    • Pelvic floor exercises

  • Medications

    • Agents that reduce the contractions of the bladder​

    • These come in tablet form or patches

  • Bladder Botox

    • Botox is a neurotoxin which blocks nerve conduction and reduce bladder contractions​

    • Effects last between 3-12 months

  • Sacroneuromodulation

    • Implantation of an electrical device which modulates the nerve signals to ​the bladder muscles

  • Bladder augmentation

    • Surgically increasing bladder capacity​

  • Cystectomy

    • Surgical removal of the bladder​

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