Overactive bladder (OAB) syndrome is a treatable condition if timely medical help is sought.

According to Consultant Urologist and Andrologist S. Duraisamy, about 25 per cent of the population aged above 40, especially women, in Chennai, suffers from the syndrome. But shyness keeps them from speaking about it, he told reporters at a meeting organised in the run up to World Kidney Day to be observed on March 11.

Frequent visits to the rest room, urge incontinence or leaking urine requires immediate attention, he said, urging general practitioners and primary care physicians to refer such patients to specialists.

Commonly, obstructions to urinary passage in men (due to enlargement of prostate) and narrowing of urethra in women, causes the syndrome, Dr. Duraisamy explained.

Though OAB could be symptom for diseases such as tuberculosis and cancer, in a large number of others it could be caused by psychological and psychosomatic stress. Where OAB is not due to known conditions such as diabetes or TB or cancer, doctors offer a range of drugs that specifically address the problem and have fewer side effects, he said.