How is OAB Diagnosed?

After you talk about your symptoms, your health care provider may do an exam right away. Or, they may refer you to a specialist, such as a urologist who can diagnose and treat OAB. Some urologists specialize in incontinence and OAB.

Medical History

Your exam will begin with questions. Your provider will want to understand your health history and experiences. You should tell them about the symptoms you have, how long you’ve had them, and how they’re changing your life. A medical history will include questions about your past and current health problems. You should bring a list of over-the-counter and prescription drugs you take. You should also tell your provider about your diet and about how much and what kinds of liquids you drink during the day and night.

Physical Exam

Your provider will examine you to look for something that may be causing your symptoms. Doctors will often feel your abdomen, the organs in your pelvis, and your rectum.

Bladder Diary

You may be asked to keep a Bladder Diaryfor a few weeks. With this, you will note how often you go to the bathroom and any time you leak urine. This will help your health care provider learn more about your day-to-day symptoms. The bladder diary helps you track:

  • When and how much fluid you drink
  • When and how much you urinate
  • How often you have that “gotta go” urgency feeling
  • When and how much urine you may leak

Having a Bladder Diary during your first visit can be helpful because it describes your daily habits, your urinary symptoms, and shows your provider how they affect your life. Your doctor will use this information to help treat you.

Other Tests

  • Urine test: Your health care provider may ask you to leave a sample of your urine to test for infection or blood.
  • Bladder scan: This type of ultrasound shows how much urine is still in the bladder after you go to the bathroom.
  • More tests,like a cystoscopy or urodynamic testing, are usually not needed but may be used if your provider thinks something else is going on.