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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Prevalence, evaluation and management of overactive bladder in primary care

Wellman W Cheung1, Nadia H Khan1, Karmina K Choi1, Martin H Bluth2 and Miriam T Vincent3*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Urology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York, NY, USA

2 Department of Pathology, Wayne State University/Detroit Medical Center, Detroit, MI, USA

3 Department of Family Practice, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York, NY, USA

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BMC Family Practice 2009, 10:8  doi:10.1186/1471-2296-10-8

Published: 23 January 2009



Patients with overactive bladder (OAB) are under-diagnosed in the primary care setting. Primary care physicians (PCP) approach to the patient and appropriate patient disclosure may contribute to under-diagnosis.


An outpatient primary care setting was used to determine the prevalence and characteristics of OAB. Patients who visited the family medicine outpatient clinic were invited to answer a self-administered questionnaire. It included questions on evidence of lower urinary tract symptoms (modified Overactive Bladder-Validated 8-question Screener [OAB-V8]), relevant medical and surgical history, and demographic data. Relationship between OAB and other independent variables were analyzed using chi-square and risk ratio (RR) analysis.


Of 325 questionnaires distributed, 311 were returned completed. Patients ranged from 18 to 97 years, the majority women (74.0%) and African American (74.3%). OAB was present in 60.5% of men and 48.3% of women (p = 0.058). OAB was significantly associated with obesity (BMI > = 30) in women (p = 0.018, RR = 1.72), specifically obese premenopausal women (age < 55 years) (p = 0.011, RR = 1.98).


OAB prevalence is more than double and higher in men than previously reported. The relative risk for OAB is significantly greater in obese premenopausal women.