Overactive bladder (OAB): a failed concept needing revision to accommodate an external anatomical control system

Peter Petros, Jörgen Quaghebeur, Jean Jacques Wyndaele

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Thesis and aims: In 45 years, the definitions and practice of the urodynamically based overactive bladder (OAB)/detrusor overactivity (DO) system have failed to adequately address pathogenesis and cure of urinary urge incontinence, frequency and nocturia. Methods: We analysed the OAB syndrome with reference to the Integral Theory paradigm’s (ITS) binary feedback system, where OAB in the female is viewed as a prematurely activated, but otherwise normal micturition caused mainly, but not entirely, by ligament damage/laxity. The ITS Clinical Assessment Pathway which details the relationships between structural damage (prolapse), ligaments and dysfunction (symptoms) is introduced. Results: The ITS was able to “better explain” OAB pathophysiology in anatomical terms with reference to the binary model. The phasic patterns diagnostic of “detrusor overactivity” are explained as a struggle for control by the closure and micturition reflexes. The exponentially determined relationship between urethral diameter and flow explains why obstructive patterns occur, why they do not and why urine may leak with no recorded pressure. Mechanically supporting ligaments (“simulated operations”) during urodynamic testing can improve low urethral pressure, negative pressure during coughing with SUI and diminish urge sensation or even DO patterns, transforming urodynamics from non-predictive test to accurate predictor of continence surgery results. High cure rates for OAB by daycare repair of damaged ligaments is a definitive test of the binary system’s validity. Conclusion: Conceptual progression of OAB to the Integral Theory paradigms’s prematurely activated micturition validates OAB component symptoms as a syndrome, explains pathogenesis, and unlocks a new way of understanding, diagnosing, treating and researching OAB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1605–1613
Number of pages9
JournalWorld Journal of Urology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


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