According to the International Continence Society, OAB is a syndrome with symptoms consisting of urgency, with or without urge incontinence, usually with frequency and nocturia. OAB symptoms may interfere with your daily activities and disrupt sleep. The potential for frequent, hurried trips to the restroom and the possibility of incontinence can be embarrassing and stressful.

Sudden Urges

OAB causes strong, sudden urges to urinate. In some cases, people with OAB may not be able to make it to a restroom on time and urine involuntarily leaks from the bladder (urge incontinence).

Read about other causes of urinary urgency

Urge Incontinence

Urge incontinence is the loss of bladder control that causes involuntary leakage of urine. It starts with a sudden, insuppressible bladder-muscle contraction during the phase in which the bladder is filling with urine. There is usually little or no time to recognize the need to urinate.

Learn about other causes of weak bladders.


People with OAB feel the need to urinate more often than usual—eight or more times in 24 hours—and with less urine in the bladder compared to people with normal bladder function.

Read about other causes of frequent urination


Nocturia is a condition that involves waking up to use the bathroom several times at night to the point that a sleep cycle is disrupted. It is common among people who suffer from OAB. 

Learn about other causes of nocturia