Differences Between Bladder Conditions

The difference Between OAB and Other Incontinence

A simple symptom assessment can help you differentiate between an overactive bladder (OAB) and other types of incontinence to ensure you receive the right treatment.


Over-Active Bladder, or OAB is associated with urgency (a strong, sudden desire to void), frequency (more than 8 times in 24 hours), and a large amount of urinary leakage in patients who suffer from incontinence.

Patients with OAB are often unable to reach the toilet in time after an urge to void, and will usually wake up once or more to pass urine during the night.

Urge urinary incontinence is caused by uncontrollable contractions of the detrusor muscle. You may have very little warning time, and the volume of leakage is usually large.

Stress Incontinence

Stress incontinence occurs when pressure on the bladder is greater than the urethral pressure, resulting in a sudden loss of urine (usually a small volume). Physical movement or activity — such as coughing, sneezing, running, or heavy lifting — puts pressure, or stress, on your bladder. Stress incontinence is not related to psychological stress but usually to weakened or damaged pelvic floor muscles.

Mixed Incontinence

This condition is diagnosed when OAB and stress incontinence symptoms are both present in the same person. Individuals with mixed incontinence may experience leakage of urine due to a sudden uncontrollable urge to urinate as well as when coughing or sneezing.

It’s important to remember that urine leakage associated with physical activity is not a symptom of an overactive bladder.