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Urology. 2004 Dec;64(6 Suppl 1):2-6.

Defining overactive bladder: epidemiology and burden of disease.

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Sant'Andrea Hospital, 2nd School of Medicine, Department of Urology, La Sapienza University, Rome, Italy.


Overactive bladder (OAB) is a common, disabling condition associated with considerable negative impact on quality of life, quality of sleep, and mental health. The age-specific prevalence of OAB is similar among men and women. Urge incontinence affects only a portion of the OAB population: 33% of patients have OAB with urge incontinence ("OAB wet"), while 66% have OAB without urge incontinence ("OAB dry"). The symptoms of OAB can affect social, psychological, occupational, domestic, physical, and sexual aspects of life. OAB can also lead to depression and low self-esteem. The shift away from urodynamic observation (essential in the identification of OAB) reflects increased emphasis on the symptom-specific nature of this common disorder. The overall costs of OAB to society are in the billions. Yet the condition often goes unrecognized, largely because of the reluctance of those with OAB to seek medical attention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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