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Current management of overactive bladder

Cartwright, Rufus; Renganathan, Arasee; Cardozo, Linda

Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology: October 2008 - Volume 20 - Issue 5 - p 489–495
doi: 10.1097/GCO.0b013e32830fe38c
Urogynecology: Edited by Narender Bhatia

Purpose of review The concept of overactive bladder has helped us address the problem of urgency and urge incontinence from a symptomatic perspective. In this review, we provide a critical summary of clinically relevant recent publications, focusing in particular on advances in our understanding of assessment methods and therapeutic interventions for overactive bladder in women.

Recent findings According to current definitions, the prevalence of overactive bladder in western nations is now estimated as 13.0%. Although the prevalence increases with age, the symptoms of overactive bladder may follow a relapsing and remitting course. There has been a proliferation of validated symptom and quality of life measures and increasing sophistication in the analysis of bladder diaries. The role of urodynamics in the evaluation of urgency remains uncertain, with many trials showing limited benefit as a preoperative investigation. Fluid restriction and bladder retraining remain important first-line interventions. Many new anticholinergic medications have been licensed, with limited benefits compared with existing preparations. Intravesical botulinum toxin has become a popular alternative for patients who fail oral therapies.

Summary Although there have been few important therapeutic innovations, recent publications have led to greater sophistication in assessment methods and a clearer understanding of the role of existing interventions.

Department of Urogynaecology, King's College Hospital, Denmark Hill, London, UK

Correspondence to Rufus Cartwright, Department of Urogynaecology, Suite 8, Golden Jubilee Wing, King's College Hospital, Denmark Hill, London SE5 9RS, UK Tel: +44 2032993568; fax: +44 2032993449; e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.