Home Forums Other Specialities Nephrology/Urology OVERACTIVE BLADDER SYNDROME

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    Overactive bladder syndrome

    Overactive bladder syndrome (OBS) is a urological condition related to problems with urination, and sits in a spectrum of urinary incontinence, including the following:

    Stress incontinence, which occurs when the bladder is under extra sudden pressure (cough, sneeze, heavy lifting, laughter).

    Urge incontinence, when the urge to urinate is sudden and intense, and delay in going to the toilet cannot be countenanced. Stress incontinence and urge incontinence account for 90% of cases of urinary incontinence

    Mixed incontinence, where symptoms of both stress and urge incontinence are experienced.

    Overactive bladder syndrome, where there is urgency that may (wet OBS) or may not (dry OBS) be accompanied by incontinence.
    OBS is sometimes referred to as irritable bladder or detrusor instability.

    Overflow incontinence, where there is chronic urinary retention

    Total incontinence, where urinary incontinence is severe and continuous


    Between one in two and one in six adults in the US and Europe have OBS, and the prevalence increases with age.
    The American Urological Society has reported that rates in men range between 7 and 27%, and between 9 and 43% in women.
    Urge incontinence is higher in women that in men. As many as 39% of those with OBS symptoms are symptom-free within the year, but, for most, symptoms persist for several years.

    The symptoms of OBS are caused by the detrusor sending the message to the brain that the bladder is in urgent need of being emptied when it is not.
    What causes the detrusor to contract in the absence of a full bladder is not fully understood.


    G Mohan.

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