Do you often feel the urge to pee and feel like you just can't hold it? Do you head to the bathroom far more than you think is normal? You may have overactive bladder (OAB), a condition that affects about 33 million Americans. With OAB, people experience sudden urges to urinate that they can't control, as well as the need to urinate frequently. People with OAB may also leak when they experience the urge to urinate.
Who Gets OAB?
According to the American Urological Association, up to 30 percent of men and 40 percent of women in the U.S. experience OAB symptoms. Women who have gone through menopause and men who have had prostate problems have a greater risk for OAB. And risk increases with age. In addition, some medications may cause or worsen urinary symptoms. These include blood pressure drugs—diuretics and a class called alpha blockers (Cardura, Minipress)—antidepressants and sleeping medications.
Doctors diagnose OAB based on a physical exam, symptoms of frequency and urgency, and other test results. Urinary frequency is defined as urinating at least eight times in a 24-hour period. You may also wake up to urinate two or three times a night. In about 40 percent of patients, OAB resolves on its own within a year, but most people suffer from symptoms for years.
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