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5.3: The OAB – How Common is It?

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  • There are at present only a few population – based studies that have assessed the prevalence of OAB. The prevalence of OAB symptoms was estimated in a large European study involving more than 16 000 individuals. Data were collected using a population – based survey of men and women aged ≥ 40 years, selected from the general population in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK using a random, stratified approach. The main outcome measures were prevalence of urinary frequency (>8 micturitions /24 hours), urgency and urge incontinence; proportion of participants who had sought medical advice for OAB symptoms; and current previous therapy received for these symptoms. The overall prevalence of OAB symptoms in this population of men and women aged ≥ 40 years was 16%. About 79% of the respondents with OAB symptoms had experienced symptoms for at least 1 year and 49% for 3 years. Sixty – seven percent of the women and 65% of the men with OAB symptoms reported that their symptoms had an impact on daily living. The prevalence of OAB symptoms increased with age in both men and women. OAB symptoms were relatively more common in younger women compared with men, while the opposite was found for the older age groups where symptoms were more common in men. However, when comparing the total population of men and women, there was little difference in the overall prevalence reported in women and men.

    The prevalence of OAB symptoms has also been assessed in a large population based survey from the USA. The National Overactive Bladder Evaluation (NOBLE) was designed to assess the prevalence and burden of OAB. A sample of 5204 adults ≥ 18 years and representative of the US population by sex, age, and geographical region was assessed. The overall prevalence of OAB was similar between men (16.0%) and women (16.9%) and was similar to the results reported earlier from Europe. The impact of OAB symptoms on quality of life was assessed in a subset of the participants from the NOBLE study. In individuals who reported OAB symptoms, these symptoms had a clinically significant negative effect on quality of life, quality of sleep, and mental health.

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