This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Pharmacological management: Overactive bladder

Written by: | Published:

Overactive bladder (OAB) is a syndrome which affects around 12 per cent of men and women, and incidence increases with age so that by the age of 80 around 70 to 80 per cent of people are affected.1 Patients with OAB present with symptoms of urgency, increased daytime frequency and nocturia.2 Around 33 per cent of people with OAB will exhibit urinary incontinence, which affects women more than men.

Overactive bladder has a significant negative effect on patients' quality of life and can lead to social isolation and depression.1,3 Overactive bladder syndrome with urge incontinence is associated with early institutionalisation, financial cost and increased morbidity and mortality. 4

Lower urinary tract function

The function of the lower urinary tract (LUT) is to store and intermittently release urine, and requires the coordination of smooth and striated muscles in the bladder and bladder neck, urethra and urethral sphincter within the bladder outlet. Coordination between these organs is mediated by a complex neural control system located in the brain, spinal cord and peripheral ganglia.

The average adult bladder can hold between 350ml and 500ml of urine. The sensation of bladder fullness occurs when the bladder is around half full (200ml), but results in no increase of pressure from the detrusor muscle until the bladder's capacity is reached.

Please login or register to read the rest of the article and to have access to downloads and comments.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Most read articles from Practice Nursing Journal

Practice Nursing Journal latest issue and most read articles.

Click here to read a selection of free to access articles from Practice Nursing Journal


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.