The prevalence of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and overactive bladder (OAB) by racial/ethnic group and age: Results from OAB-POLL


  • Robert Pickard led the peer-review process as the Associate Editor responsible for the paper.

  • Conflict of Interest: Karin S. Coyne, Chris C. Sexton, Jill A. Bell, and Christine L. Thompson are employees of United BioSource Corporation who were paid scientific consultants to Pfizer in connection with the OAB-POLL study and manuscript. Roger Dmochowski is a paid consultant to Pfizer Inc. Tamara Bavendam and Chieh-I Chen are employees of Pfizer. J. Quentin Clemens is a consultant to Pfizer, United BioSource Corporation, Afferent Pharmaceuticals, and Lilly and owns Merck stock. This study was funded by Pfizer Inc.



To estimate the prevalence of LUTS and OAB in a large, ethnically diverse US study.


This cross-sectional, population-representative survey was conducted via the Internet in the US among 10,000 men and women aged 18–70 (2,000 African-Americans [AA], 2,000 Hispanics, 6,000 whites). The LUTS tool assessed how often participants experienced LUTS during the past 4 weeks on a five-point Likert scale. OAB was defined by the presence of urinary urgency ≥ “sometimes” or ≥ “often,” and/or the presence of urgency urinary incontinence (UUI). Descriptive statistics were used to evaluate group differences. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine the impact of racial/ethnic group on OAB.


Response rate, 56.7%. Prevalent LUTS included terminal dribble and nocturia across gender, post-micturition leaking (men), and stress incontinence (women). Prevalence of OAB ≥ “sometimes” and ≥ “often” were 17% and 8% in men and 30% and 20% in women—with significantly higher rates among AA men and women. A similar trend was found for UUI among men (AA, 10%; Hispanic and whites, 6%), while AA and white women had higher prevalence of UUI (19%) as compared to Hispanic women (16%). In logistic regression analyses, AA and Hispanic men and women were significantly more likely than whites to have OAB despite having lower prevalence of self-reported comorbid conditions and risk factors.


LUTS and OAB are highly prevalent in both men and women and increase with advancing age. Further, racial/ethnic group is a robust predictor of OAB in men and women. Neurourol. Urodynam. 32: 230–237, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.