WASHINGTON, D.C.—Overactive bladder (OAB) is highly prevalent in both women and men and the prevalence varies by race and ethnicity, according to a new study that confirms previous research.

Karin S. Coyne, PhD, of United BioSource Corporation in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues examined OAB prevalence in a large U.S. population-based survey. The survey oversampled minorities to evaluate impact stratified by race. The researchers conducted the survey via the Internet, administering a questionnaire for evaluating lower urinary tract symptoms. The questionnaire, which uses International Continence Society definitions, assessed how frequently participants experienced urinary symptoms during the past four weeks on a five-point Likert scale. Dr. Coyne’s group defined OAB as the presence of urinary urgency “sometimes” or “often” and/or the presence of urgency urinary incontinence.

The overall response rate was 56.7%. The 10,000 respondents included 2,000 blacks, 2,000 Hispanics, and 6,000 whites. The mean age was 41.3 and 42.2 for men and women, respectively. The rates of OAB “sometimes” and “often” were 30% and 20%, respectively, in women and 17% and 8%, respectively, in men, the researchers reported at the American Urological Association 2011 annual meeting.

OAB prevalence was significantly higher for black men (20.2%) compared with Hispanic (18.1%) and white men (14.6%), according to data in a poster presentation at the American Urological Association annual meeting. Among the women, race did not affect OAB prevalence, which was 32.6%, 29.0%, and 29.4% in African-American, Hispanic, and white women.

In addition, each decade increment in age was associated with a significant increase in the OAB prevalence in both men and women.

“Examining differences in the prevalence of OAB among different racial groups may help to gain a better understanding as to the etiology of OAB,” the authors concluded.