Skip to Main Content

Urgency Incontinence (Overactive Bladder/OAB)


Overactive bladder (OAB) is a complex condition affecting about 15 percent of women across all ages. Symptoms of overactive bladder include urinary frequency, urgency (a strong sensation of the need to urinate), nocturia (waking up with the need to urinate at night), and often leakage of urine accompanied by urgency. See below for more detail about these symptoms:

  • Frequency - more than 8 voids in each 24 hours.
  • Urgency - that gotta-go now sensation, a powerful urge to urinate, which is difficult to put off.
  • Nocturia - waking up one or more at night to urinate.

You may notice severe urgency and leakage when driving into the driveway, placing the key in the front door, running water, or with temperature changes. OAB is a very common condition.

As a first step, talk to your medical provider or bladder specialist, like a urogynecologist or urologist. Discuss when and how often you experience urgency or leakage of urine. A physical exam helps identify other conditions that influence the bladder, such as prolapse.

Download a fact sheet for easy printing to learn more about diagnosing overactive bladder and treatments.