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OAB and the Urge to Pee: 5 Things to Know

By Debbie Matenopoulos, television host & journalist

We’ve all had that moment at some time in our lives when we felt we had to sprint to the restroom, overcome with urge to go right that very second. But if you are in your 40s like me, and rushing to the restroom more than eight times a day, it might actually be something called overactive bladder—also known as OAB.1 I learned about OAB recently when I interviewed a health-care expert about the condition, which affects nearly 30 million Americans ages 40 and older.2

While I’m not personally impacted by OAB, I wanted to understand what it might be like to have that urgent “gotta go” feeling that might cause a person to worry constantly about where a restroom is, especially as people have started to resume some of their pre-pandemic routines.2,3,4

What I learned surprised me!

Home And Family 9119 Final Photo AssetsCourtesy Debbie Matenopoulos

1. People may experience different OAB symptoms2

Women’s health-care expert Jo Ann Fisher, NP, explains that symptoms of OAB may include urinary urgency (that feeling that you have to get to a bathroom ASAP), frequency (using the bathroom eight or more times a day) or leakage.1,2 “Each patient is different,” Fisher says, “so it’s important that you speak with your health-care provider about your symptoms. They can perform a thorough assessment and recommend a treatment plan tailored to you.”5

2. OAB can affect both men and women at any age2

Although more prevalent in women, OAB also affects men, according to Fisher.2 And it’s not an inevitable part of aging, as many believe.3 “OAB can occur at any time in one’s life, but it’s more common as people age,” Fisher says.2,3

3. Tomato products, like tomato soup or marinara sauce, can irritate the bladder6

As an avid home chef, I was intrigued to learn that some ingredients may worsen symptoms of OAB.6 In addition to tomato-based products, Fisher notes that citrus fruits, spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol can be bladder irritants.6 “Your health-care provider may recommend that you avoid some of these foods and beverages to help manage OAB symptoms as part of a comprehensive treatment plan,”6,7 Fisher says. Additionally, keeping a bladder diary can also help you identify what foods and/or beverages exacerbate your symptoms.5

Group,of,mature,female,friends,on,outdoor,yoga,retreat,walkingMonkey Business Images/Shutterstock

4. Exercising your pelvic floor may be helpful7

Kegel exercises – an exercise that involves squeezing the muscles around your pelvic floor – may help to reduce urine leakage.7 “Kegels are important because they can make the muscles around the bladder stronger,” Fisher continued.7 “And the good news is, you can do them while lying down, sitting or standing up.7 Some of my patients tell me they do them in the car while driving or while watching television.”

5. Medications like Myrbetriq® (mirabegron extended-release tablets) may help8

Though OAB can’t be cured, Fisher underscored that symptoms can be managed with guidance from your health care provider.1 “Your provider may prescribe a medication called Myrbetriq®, which is a prescription medicine for adults used to treat OAB with symptoms of urgency, frequency and leakage,”8 Fisher says. “Myrbetriq has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration since 2012 and on the market for nearly a decade, so we have a lot of real-world experience treating patients with this medication,”8 Fisher added. “I talk to my patients about the risks associated with Myrbetriq, including the potential for increased blood pressure, the inability to empty your bladder and angioedema.”8 Please see additional Important Safety Information below.

While OAB can be challenging,3 Fisher emphasizes that with persistence and a positive mindset, many people can find a treatment plan that works for them. “It’s very important to speak up to your health-care provider so you can together determine the right course of treatment for you,”5 she says.

I couldn’t agree more. As we start to resume some semblance of our routines as we navigate the pandemic,4 there is no better time to be proactive about our health and well-being and take that first step of speaking up.

You can find more information about OAB symptoms and hear real patient stories at

Use of Myrbetriq

MYRBETRIQ® (mirabegron extended-release tablets) is a prescription medicine for adults used to treat overactive bladder (OAB) with symptoms of urgency, frequency, and leakage.

Important Safety Information

Do not take MYRBETRIQ if you are allergic to mirabegron or any ingredients in MYRBETRIQ.

MYRBETRIQ may cause your blood pressure to increase or make your blood pressure worse if you have a history of high blood pressure. You and your doctor should check your blood pressure while you are taking MYRBETRIQ. Call your doctor if you have increased blood pressure.

MYRBETRIQ may increase your chances of not being able to empty your bladder. Tell your doctor right away if you have trouble emptying your bladder or you have a weak urine stream.

MYRBETRIQ may cause an allergic reaction with swelling of the face, lips, throat, or tongue with or without difficulty breathing. Stop using MYRBETRIQ and go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away.

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including medications for overactive bladder or other medicines, especially thioridazine (Mellaril™ and Mellaril-S™), flecainide (Tambocor®), propafenone (Rythmol®), digoxin (Lanoxin®). or solifenacin succinate (VESIcare®). MYRBETRIQ may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how MYRBETRIQ works.

Before taking MYRBETRIQ, tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, including if you have liver or kidney problems.

The most common side effects of MYRBETRIQ include high blood pressure, pain or swelling of the
nose or throat (nasopharyngitis), urinary tract infection, and headache.

For further information, please talk to your health-care professional and see accompanying Patient Product Information and complete Prescribing Information for MYRBETRIQ® (mirabegron extended-release tablets).

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit or call 800-FDA-1088.

To learn about how adults living with OAB received a treatment for overactive bladder symptoms, visit

This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always talk with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. This article is sponsored by Astellas Pharma US, Inc. This article features participants who have been compensated by Astellas.

Myrbetriq® is a registered trademark of Astellas Pharma Inc. All other trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

© 2021 Astellas Pharma US, Inc. All rights reserved.

1 Gormley EA, Lightner DJ, Burgio KL, et al. Diagnosis and treatment of overactive bladder (non-neurogenic) in adults: AUA/SUFU guideline. American Urological Association Education and Research, Inc. 2019.

2 Coyne KS, Sexton CC, Vats V, Thompson C, Kopp ZS, Milsom I. se. Urology 2011;77(5):1081-7.

3 MacDiarmid SA. Maximizing the Treatment of Overactive Bladder in the Elderly. Rev Urol 2008;10(1):6-13.

4 The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The June 2021 AP-NORC Center Poll (06-18-2021). Accessed 08-02-2021.

5 Wyman JF, Burgio KL, Newman DK. Practical aspects of lifestyle modifications and behavioural interventions in the treatment of overactive bladder and urgency urinary incontinence. Int J Clin Pract 2009;63(8):1177-91.

6 Interstitial Cystitis Network. 2012 ICN Food List for Interstitial Cystitis, Bladder Pain Syndrome, Overactive Bladder (2012). Accessed 04-21-2021.

7 National Institutes of Health. What I Need to Know About Bladder Control for Women. NIH Publication No. 07-4195. Bethesda, MD: National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, 2007.

8 Myrbetriq [package insert]. Northbrook, IL; Astellas Pharma U.S., Inc.

  • Debbie Matenopoulos television host & journalist
  • Jo Ann Fisher NP, women’s health expert
  • Astellas Pharma US, Inc.