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How is OAB Diagnosed?

After you talk about your symptoms, your health care provider may do an exam right away. He or she may also schedule a separate exam to see if you have OAB. Your health care provider may refer you to a specialist, such as a urologist, who can perform the exam. Some urologists specialize in incontinence and OAB.

Medical History

Your health care provider will ask you a number of questions to understand your medical history. This should include information about the symptoms you are having, how long you have had them, and how they are changing your life. A medical history will also include information about your past and current health problems. You should bring a list of over-the-counter and prescription drugs you take. Your health care provider should also ask you about your diet, and about how much and what kinds of liquids you drink during the day.

Physical Exam

Your health care provider will examine you to look for something that may be causing your symptoms. In women, the physical exam will likely include your abdomen, the organs in your pelvis, and your rectum. In men, a physical exam will include your abdomen, prostate, and rectum.   

Bladder Diary

You may be asked to keep a bladder diary, where 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.   

Other Tests

  • Urine culture: 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.
  • Cystoscopy:  During this test, the doctor inserts a narrow tube with a tiny lens into the bladder. This can be used to rule out other causes of your symptoms.
  • Urodynamic testing: These tests check to see how well your lower urinary tract stores and releases urine.
  • Symptom Questionnaire: Many doctors use a written quiz to ask questions about your bladder problems and what causes you the most bother.