OAB linked to reduced sexual activity regardless of the presence or absence of incontinence.
Overactive bladder (OAB) symptoms in middle-aged or older men are associated with an increased risk of erectile dysfunction (ED).
The study results—released at the International Continence Society (ICS) meeting in Christchurch, New Zealand—are based on telephone interviews with 502 men 50 years of age or older from Sweden, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Canada who had OAB symptoms. A randomly selected group of 502 matched controls without OAB symptoms were also interviewed.
The telephone survey is a sub-analysis of the so-called EPIC study, which is the first multinational, cross-sectional, population-based survey to evaluate relationships between OAB, ED, and patient-reported sexual outcomes using 2002 ICS definitions.
“We found that 34.7% of men with OAB who said they were sexually active during the past year reported ED compared with 20% of controls,” reported Debra E. Irwin, PhD, professor of epidemiology at the Uni-versity of North CarolinaSchool of Public Health in Chapel Hill. “This means that the likelihood of ED among men with OAB was similar to that of men with hypertension or diabetes.”
In addition, OAB was associated with a decrease in sexual activity whether or not urinary incontinence was present. For example, 45.4% of men with OAB and urinary incontinence said they were sexually active in the past year compared with 63.3% of controls. Additionally, 57.8% of men with OAB but without urinary incontinence reported a decrease in sexual activity over the past 12 months. Rates of sexual enjoyment and satisfaction were also lower in men with OAB symptoms, and were most commonly reported by men with OAB and urinary incontinence. Studies are needed to look at whether the effects of OAB and ED on sexual quality of life are additive in men affected by both conditions.
A separate analysis involving the entire EPIC cohort of 19,165 people showed that both men and women with OAB were significantly less likely to be employed than controls. Individuals with OAB who were em-ployed, either with or without urinary incontinence, reported both absenteeism and presenteeism (defined as reduced effectiveness while working) more often than did controls. “This translated into a greater loss in overall work productivity in persons with OAB than controls, irrespective of their continence status,” Dr. Irwin said.