Overactive Bladder

An overactive bladder, or OAB, is a common condition that affects both men and women. OAB can happen when the bladder muscle squeezes too often, or squeezes when you do not want to urinate – causing frequent and urgent urination or even wetting accidents. Nocturia (waking up several times each night to urinate) is another symptom of OAB. The SUS experts may recommend low-risk therapies that may be effective on their own or in combination, including lifestyle changes, prescription medicines, bladder training, and kegel exercises.


With an overactive bladder, you may:

  • Feel a sudden urge to urinate that’s difficult to control
  • Experience urge incontinence — the involuntary loss of urine immediately following an urgent need to urinate
  • Urinate frequently, usually eight or more times in 24 hours
  • Awaken two or more times in the night to urinate (nocturia)


Beyond a number of tests we may run, the most important aspect of diagnosing overactive bladder is simply a conversation with you. Below are some of the questions we may ask you in order to gain some insight into your condition.

  • How often do you urinate?
  • How often do you leak urine, and how severely?
  • Do you feel any pain or discomfort while urinating?
  • For how long has the urge or urinary incontinence been occurring?
  • Can you sleep through the night without waking to urinate?
  • What medications are you taking?
  • Have you had any recent surgery or illnesses?

Keeping a diary at home for a few days in advance of your appointment may help you to better shed light on your condition. Each day, write down how much you drink, when you urinate, how much you urinate each time, and whether you ever feel an urgent need to go.