Did You Know? OAB vs. SUI

Overactive bladder (OAB) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI) are two common lower urinary tract or bladder health problems that can cause incontinence. Incontinence is the leaking of urine that can't be controlled.


OAB is not a disease. It is the name given to a group of troubling urinary symptoms. About 33 million Americans have OAB - 30 percent of men and 40 percent of women.

Things that raise your chance of having OAB:

  • Getting older

  • Going through menopause (also called "change of life")

  • Having prostate problems 

  • Having a health issue that impacts the brain or spinal cord, such as stroke or multiple sclerosis (MS)

The most common symptom is a strong, sudden urge to go the bathroom that you can't control. Some people leak urine when they feel that urge. One more sign of OAB is the need to go to the bathroom many times during the day and night.


SUI happens when pelvic floor muscles supporting the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body) are stretched, weakened or damaged. SUI is very common in women - about 1 in 3 have SUI at some time in their lives. SUI is less common in men.

Things that raise your chance of having SUI:

  • Gender - females are more likely to have SUI

  • Pregnancy and giving birth

  • Nerve injuries to the lower back

  • Pelvic or prostate surgery

  • Smoking

  • Endless coughing

People with SUI leak urine while sneezing, laughing or doing other physical movements. Leakage can be a few drops or enough to soak through your clothes.

If you think you suffer from OAB or SUI, don't be embarrassed - talk to your healthcare provider. There are a number of ways to manage these conditions that can help. For more facts on OAB and SUI visit: