Effects of overactive bladder and nocturia are far-reaching

June 1, 2011

Overactive bladder and nocturia have a significant impact on the lives of middle-aged American women, affecting sleep patterns, relationships, intimacy, and social and physical activity, according to a recent study.

Overactive bladder (OAB) and nocturia have a significant impact on the lives of middle-aged American women, affecting sleep patterns, relationships, intimacy, and social and physical activity, according to a recent study of more than 1,000 women.

The women were between 40 and 65 years of age and participated in online interviews.

Researchers found that the great majority (96%) of the women who have OAB get up at least once during the night to urinate, nearly half urinate 3 or more times nightly, and 1 in 5 rises 4 or more times per night to urinate. Less surprising is the finding that 63% of the participants reported that not getting enough sleep disrupts their sense of "normalcy."

The study team also found that women with OAB and nocturia were more likely than those with OAB but without nocturia to report suffering from depression, altering their behavior in social situations, refraining from physical activity and intimacy, and cancelling social plans because of their condition.

Researchers concluded that OAB with nocturia requires more attention from healthcare providers, who may have to persist with questions when taking a history. Sixty-five percent of the women in the study who reported nocturia admitted waiting longer than they should have to seek treatment.

The authors concluded that greater effort is needed to keep patients in treatment and to educate the public about OAB and nocturia.

Levkowicz R, Whitmore KE, Muller N. Overactive bladder and nocturia in middle-age American women: symptoms and impact are significant. Urol Nurs. 2011;31(2):106-111.