Overactive bladder (OAB) is a chronic condition with symptoms that can disrupt your normal activities during the day and disrupt your sleep at night. It can lead to embarrassment, depression, and emotional distress.
Quality of Life
Symptoms of OAB—frequency, urgency, and incontinence—can have a significant detrimental effect on a person’s daily life. These symptoms (and the coping strategies OAB patients develop to manage them) can disrupt normal routines at home, at work, and in social settings.
There have been several studies and surveys that have interviewed people with OAB, many of which reported a decrease in sexual activity or satisfaction related to OAB symptoms.
Urgency, frequency, or chronic fatigue due to sleep disruption can interfere with work and daily routines and lead to lower productivity at work and at home.
People living with OAB often avoid leaving the house out of fear of a flare up in symptoms, especially urge incontinence. This could cause them to miss out on important or fun events that are an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.
Nocturia is a common symptom of OAB. Defined as the need to get out of bed two or more times at night, nocturia can cause chronic fatigue and lack of energy that can exacerbate other OAB complications.
A lower quality of life can have emotional effects on people with OAB. Studies have shown a strong association between depression and OAB symptoms.
If OAB is not treated, recurrent urinary tract and skin infections can occur. However, proper treatment of OAB has proven to decrease infections.
It is a misconception that if a person with OAB limits the amount of fluid intake to a very small amount that urinary incontinence will not occur. In fact, not drinking enough fluids can cause distress on the bladder and worsen OAB symptoms.
Falls and Fractures
Studies have found that urgency and incontinence significantly increase the risk of recurrent falls and fractures in the elderly.