Overactive bladder (OAB) is a common condition that affects millions of Americans. Overactive bladder isn't a disease. It's the name of a group of urinary symptoms. The most common symptom of OAB is a sudden urge to urinate that you can't control. Some people will leak urine when they feel the urge. Leaking urine is called "incontinence." Having to go to the bathroom many times during the day and night is another symptom of OAB.
After you talk about your symptoms, your healthcare provider may do an exam right away. He or she may also schedule a separate exam to see if you have OAB. Your healthcare provider will ask you a number of questions to understand your medical history. This should include information about the symptoms you are having, how long you have had them, and how they are changing your life. A medical history will also include information about your past and current health problems. You should bring a list of over-the-counter and prescription drugs you take. Your healthcare provider should also ask you about your diet, and about how much and what kinds of liquids you drink during the day.
Your healthcare provider will examine you to look for something that may be causing your symptoms. In women, the physical exam will likely include your abdomen, the organs in your pelvis, and your rectum. In men, a physical exam will include your abdomen, prostate, and rectum.
You may be asked to keep a bladder diary, where you will note how often you go to the bathroom and any time you leak urine. This will help your healthcare provider learn more about your day-to-day symptoms.