Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Are There Racial Differences Among Those That Have Overactive Bladder?


A very common condition, Overactive Bladder (OAB) is a syndrome that consists of abnormal urinary urgency (uncontrollable or painful), with or without urge incontinence (leaking with the urge prior to getting to the bathroom), urinary frequency, and often nocturia (waking up with the urge to void urine), when no other bladder disorder is present (such as infection, tumors, etc). The prevalence of OAB in Europe and the US ranges between 11-16% of the adult population, with similar rates between men and women. Of the large trials, none looked at whether there are racial differences when it comes to who develops OAB.

An enormous internet based survey was conducted in the US among over 62,000 participants from the US, UK and Sweden. Over 36,000 responded and a random sample of 20,000 men and women were chosen. There were very interesting findings:

White and Hispanic men and women perceived worse bladder condition than black and Asian men and women. Women experienced greater impact than men.

Black men were most affected by OAB compared to Hispanic, Asian or white men, while for women there was no racial difference. Among women of all races the prevalence of OAB was between 27-46%, the lowest were Asians, the highest were black women.

Significant predictors for developing OAB in women were:

History of bedwetting as a child, high BMI, being a current smoker, history of recurrent UTIs, uterine prolapse, hysterectomy, arthritis, depression, hypertension, IBS, previously given birth, and sleep disorder.

For men, predictors of OAB were also arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, prostatitis, prostate cancer, IBS and BMI.

Many of the health conditions that are predictors of OAB are shared between men and women, and these are usually age related changes, where an aging bladder itself as well as underlying vascular disease can contribute to OAB symptoms. Pelvic floor surgery or weakness is a risk factor in women for OAB as well.

Though race is not predictive among women for who may develop OAB, it is a common condition that can affect quality of life and can be exacerbated by lifestyle habits and poor health.

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