Overactive bladder (OAB) is a common yet frustrating condition that affects women of all ages.

Today’s post is written by  Dr. Vatche Minassian, Chief of Urogynecology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  This is the fifth post in a series about common urogynecologic conditions affecting women.

If the first thing you do when you arrive at the mall, a restaurant, or movie theater is locate the bathroom, you may be suffering from an overactive bladder (OAB), a common yet frustrating condition.

OAB affects women of all ages, races, and socio-economic backgrounds. It occurs more often as women get older and may affect as many as one out of six women. OAB is a chronic condition. This means that although we can successfully help women manage their symptoms, there is usually not a cure that will cause the condition to go away permanently.

Recently, I saw several women with symptoms of OAB. My first patient, 61 years old, described the need to go to the bathroom every hour, even waking up several times during the night to go. The same day, another of my patients, who is 45 years old, recounted feeling a strong urgency to urinate, often being unable to hold her urine for long. The following day, a third patient, 72 years old, voiced the following concern, “Doctor, when I feel the need to go, I’ve got to find a bathroom quickly. In fact, I know where all the bathrooms are at the mall or grocery store.”

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