Is overactive bladder independently associated with anxiety?

  • Shambe Mutungi
  • Jacqueline Parrish
  • Robert Maunder
  • May Alarab
  • Colleen D. McDermott
  • Nucelio Lemos
  • Danny LovatsisEmail author
Original Article


Introduction and hypothesis

Although some psychiatric anxiety questionnaires include overactive bladder (OAB) questions, there are few controlled data to confirm such an association. We tested the association between OAB and anxiety using a control group of women with non-OAB lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS).


Patients referred to a urogynecology clinic for LUTS completed two questionnaires: the International Consultation on Incontinence Modular Questionnaire for Overactive Bladder (ICIQ-OAB), and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-Item Scale (GAD-7). Based on ICIQ-OAB scores, patients were dichotomized as having OAB versus LUTS-other, and GAD-7 scores categorized patients as having anxiety. A 2-tailed Fisher’s exact test was used to test the association between OAB and anxiety. Demographic variables were collected and significant confounders were included in a logistic regression analysis. Sample size calculation indicated a need for 100 subjects, but we recruited 105 subjects to account for incomplete questionnaires.


One hundred and five subjects were enrolled (one excluded owing to incomplete questionnaires). Sixty-five patients had OAB and 39 had LUTS-other. Of the OAB patients, 17 out of 65 (26.2%) had anxiety, compared with 3 out of 39 (7.7%) of the LUTS-other group (p = 0.038 by Fisher’s exact test, with a slight drop to p = 0.056 in the regression analysis).


There appears to be an association between OAB and anxiety and it may be of clinical importance to assess for anxiety in patients that present with OAB symptoms. The drop in statistical significance from p = 0.038 to a borderline significance of p = 0.056 in the regression analysis may be a reflection of the sample size.


Anxiety Lower urinary tract symptoms Overactive bladder 



The authors would like to thank Josie Chundamala, Scientific Grant Editor funded by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Mount Sinai Hospital, for complimentary assistance editing and preparing this manuscript for submission.


Competitive grant from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Toronto.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© The International Urogynecological Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and GynaecologyMount Sinai HospitalTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryMount Sinai HospitalTorontoCanada

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