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Quick Reference Guide for Clinicians
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Diagnosis and Management of Overactive Bladder

(Published March 2011)

Counseling Tips

Screening for OAB

  • Use these questions to screen patients for OAB:
    • Do you ever feel a compelling urge to urinate that is difficult to defer?
    • Do you ever leak urine? Under what circumstances?
    • How often do you urinate in 24 hours?
    • How many times do you get up to urinate at night?

Assessing the effects of OAB

  • Use these questions to assess the effects of OAB on the patient's quality of life:
    • Do symptoms such as an urgent need to urinate, frequent urination, or leaking of urine affect your ability to:
      • Socialize?
      • Travel?
      • Fulfill your occupational or personal roles?
      • Be sexually active?
    • Do your symptoms limit your ability to participate in or attend activities and events outside the home?
    • Do you ever experience embarrassment because of your symptoms?
    • Has anyone expressed concern about your symptoms?

Educating patients

  • Educate patients about:
    • Bladder function
    • Fluid and dietary management
    • Timed or prophylactic voiding
    • Bladder training regimens
    • Keeping a bladder diary
    • Pelvic floor exercises
  • Refer patients to educational materials (see Resources for Patients section).

Supporting lifestyle changes

  • Advise patients to:
    • Avoid dietary bladder irritants (e.g., alcohol, caffeine, tomatoes, citrus).
    • Moderate fluid intake.
    • Improve their mobility.
    • Address coexisting health issues.
    • Improve bowel habits and regularity (e.g., increase fiber intake).
  • Enlist caregiver's support, as appropriate.

Exploring treatment options

  • Explore available options with patients.
  • Explain the options for non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic therapy.
  • Discuss potential drug-related side effects and methods for minimizing or avoiding them.
  • Discuss the timing of referral to a urologist or gynecologic specialist for treatment.
  • Encourage patients to ask questions and seek additional sources of information and support.

Referring for specialist's care

  • Refer to a specialist patients with:
    • Hematuria
    • Unclear diagnosis
    • Presence of voiding symptoms
    • Presence of pelvic organ prolapse
    • No response to therapy
    • Elevated post-void residual
    • Previous pelvic surgery
    • Bladder pain