Harvard Health Letter

Overcoming an overactive bladder

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Get your life back if you're experiencing this easily treatable condition.

An overactive bladder (OAB, also known as urge incontinence) causes a sudden urge to urinate, even when your bladder isn't full. For some people it's simply a nuisance. For others, the urge can't be controlled, which leads not only to incontinence but also a severe impact on quality of life. "It's a major problem which limits people's social lives due to fear of embarrassing urine leakage. It is a significant contributory factor to depression. I have some patients who rarely venture outside of home because they are afraid they will wet themselves while in a public place," says Dr. George Flesh, director of urogynecology and pelvic reconstructive surgery for Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates.

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