Prevalence of overactive bladder overestimated

According to a recent study overactive bladder is much less common among Finns than earlier research suggests.

An article published in PLoS ONE demonstrates that overactive bladder occurs in one Finn out of twelve (8%), whereas earlier studies outside Finland estimate a frequency of one in six. According to the present article the disparate findings are mainly due to methodological shortcomings or to the fact that earlier studies have not been population-based.

According to the International Continence Society, overactive bladder is a symptom-defined condition characterized by urinary urgency, with or without urgency incontinence, usually with urinary frequency and nocturia (night-time urination). The term overactive bladder is appropriate if there is no proven urinary tract infection or other obvious pathology.

Overactive bladder was identified in 6.5% of Finnish men and 9.3% of women. In younger age groups the condition was more common among women, but among those over 60 years old it was more common among men. Urinary frequency and nocturia were generally more common than usual among those with an overactive bladder. However, most reported urinary frequency and nocturia was not overactive bladder.

The research is based on a questionnaire conducted 2003-2004 among 3,000 Finnish women and 3,000 Finnish men. Their ages ranged from 18 to 79. The subjects were taken from the population register.

Professor Teuvo Tammela and Professor Anssi Auvinen are in charge of the research group, whose members are from the University of Tampere, Tampere University Hospital, Helsinki University Central Hospital and the South Karelian Central Hospital in Lappeenranta.

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