What do you need to know about ICD-10 code for Overactive Bladder

icd-10 code for overactive bladder
Overactive bladder (OAB) is a common urological condition that can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. It is characterized by a frequent and urgent need to urinate, often accompanied by urinary incontinence (the unintentional loss of urine). Research indicates that 183 million people worldwide have OAB, with North America having the highest frequency. In the world of healthcare, accurate medical coding is crucial for numerous reasons. It serves as the foundation for billing, reimbursement, and statistical analysis, allowing healthcare providers to maintain financial stability and deliver quality care. When it comes to conditions like overactive bladder (OAB), having the right ICD-10 code is essential for proper documentation and billing. In this article, we’ll explore the ICD-10 code for overactive bladder and its significance in the healthcare industry.

What is an Overactive Bladder?

Overactive bladder, often abbreviated as OAB, is a medical condition characterized by the sudden, strong urge to urinate that is difficult to control. This overwhelming urge leads to involuntary urine leakage, known as urinary incontinence. OAB is not a normal part of aging and can affect people of all ages, although it is more common in older adults. According to estimates, Up to 33 million adults in the U.S. suffer from OAB and 9-43% of women and 7-27% of men have overactive bladders.

Symptoms of Overactive Bladder

There are several symptoms of overactive bladder:
  • Those with OAB urinate more than eight times a day, as well as urinate several times at night.
  • An OAB symptom is a sudden need to urinate. Sudden urges are challenging to control, often causing accidents.
  • OAB can cause small leaks or complete loss of bladder control, resulting in urinary incontinence.
  • Sleep patterns can be disrupted by nocturia, or frequent urination at night.

What are  ICD-10 Codes

ICD-10, short for the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, is a coding system used worldwide to classify diseases and health conditions. These alphanumeric codes help healthcare professionals accurately describe a patient’s diagnosis and the services provided during their treatment.

Importance of Proper Coding

Proper coding is the cornerstone of effective healthcare management. It ensures that healthcare providers receive fair reimbursement for their services and helps insurance companies process claims efficiently. Accurate coding also facilitates research, epidemiological studies, and healthcare policy development.

ICD-10 Code for Overactive Bladder

The primary ICD-10 code for overactive bladder is N32.81. This code specifies the diagnosis of overactive bladder without incontinence. When a patient presents with OAB symptoms but does not experience urinary incontinence, healthcare providers would typically use this code. The other related ICD-10 codes for overactive bladder include:
  • N32.81 – Overactive bladder without urinary incontinence: This code is used when a patient has overactive bladder symptoms but does not experience urinary incontinence.
  • N32.82 – Overactive bladder with urinary incontinence: This code is used when a patient has overactive bladder symptoms along with urinary incontinence.
  • N39.41 – Urge incontinence: This code is used to specify urge incontinence, which is often associated with overactive bladder.
  • R32 – Unspecified urinary incontinence: When the type of urinary incontinence is not specified or further detailed, this code can be used.
  • R35.0 – Frequency of micturition: This code is used when the patient experiences frequent urination, which is a common symptom of an overactive bladder.
  • R39.15 – Urgency of urination: Urgency of urination is a hallmark symptom of overactive bladder and can be coded using this specific code.
  • N36.9 – Urethral disorder, unspecified: In some cases, overactive bladder symptoms are related to urethral disorders, and this code can be used when the condition is not clearly defined.
  • N39.3 – Urinary incontinence, unspecified: This code is used when urinary incontinence is present but not further specified.
  • N39.498 – Other specified urinary incontinence: This code is used when the type of urinary incontinence is not one of the primary classifications.
  • N39.4981 – Continuous urinary incontinence: For continuous urinary incontinence that is  related to overactive bladder, this specific code is used.

Best Treatment for Overactive Bladder

Managing an overactive bladder often involves a combination of lifestyle changes, behavioral strategies, and medical treatments. The most suitable treatment plan mostly varies from person to person based on the severity of their symptoms and underlying causes.

Behavioral and Lifestyle Changes

  • For better bladder control, try progressively extending the time between bathroom visits.
  • Increasing pelvic floor muscle strength might lessen urgency and leaking.
  • Problems can be reduced by cutting out bladder irritants such as coffee, alcohol, and spicy meals.
  • Changing your fluid intake, especially in the evening, can help you stop urinating at night.


Several Anticholinergic Medications relax the bladder muscles and can help control urgency and frequency like the mirabegron can relax the bladder muscle, increasing its capacity. Injecting Botox into the bladder can also help to relax the muscles and reduce urgency and frequency. In rare cases, the bladder can be surgically enlarged to increase its capacity.

Coding Challenges and Solutions

Accurate coding for an overactive bladder can be challenging due to the overlapping symptoms with other urinary conditions. To ensure correct coding, healthcare professionals should focus on comprehensive clinical documentation and detailed patient history.

Clinical Documentation for Accurate Coding

Thorough clinical documentation is vital for accurate coding. Healthcare providers should document the patient’s symptoms, medical history, physical examination findings, and any relevant diagnostic tests. This detailed documentation supports the selection of the correct ICD-10 code.

Relevance of ICD-10 Codes in Healthcare

ICD-10 codes play a pivotal role in healthcare data management. They facilitate tracking disease prevalence, monitoring treatment outcomes, and conducting research to improve patient care. Moreover, these codes are essential for healthcare policies, insurance coverage determinations, and public health initiatives.

Benefits of Accurate Coding for Overactive Bladder

Accurate coding benefits both healthcare providers and patients. It ensures that providers receive appropriate reimbursement for their services, reducing financial strain. Patients benefit from timely and accurate diagnosis and treatment, leading to better health outcomes. Also, Electronic health records (EHRs) have revolutionized medical coding. They provide instant access to up-to-date code sets, reducing the risk of coding errors. EHRs also streamline the coding process, making it more efficient.

ICD-10 Coding Tips

To improve coding accuracy, here are some helpful tips for healthcare professionals:
  • Keep updated with ICD-10 code changes.
  • Utilize electronic health record (EHR) systems for efficient coding.
  • Seek clarification when codes are ambiguous or unclear.

Final thoughts:

The ICD-10 code for overactive bladder (N32.81) is a critical tool in healthcare. Accurate coding not only ensures proper reimbursement and billing but also contributes to better patient care and healthcare data management. Healthcare professionals should prioritize precise clinical documentation and stay updated with coding practices to navigate the complex world of medical coding successfully.

Why choose Zee Medical Billing?

Experience excellence in healthcare documentation with Zee Medical Billing. Our expert team ensures precise medical documentation and ICD-10 coding, including the perfect code for Overactive Bladder. Elevate your practice’s efficiency and accuracy with us today.

Frequently Asked Questions


Bladder training involves gradually increasing the time between bathroom visits to improve bladder control.

The ICD-10 code for overactive bladder with urinary incontinence is N32.81 (OAB) in conjunction with N39.3 (Urinary incontinence, unspecified).

Accurate medical coding is crucial for billing, reimbursement, research, and healthcare policy development. It ensures fair compensation for healthcare providers and supports quality patient care.

Healthcare professionals can improve coding accuracy by staying updated with code changes, using electronic health records (EHRs), and seeking clarification when codes are unclear.

Common mistakes in medical coding include code duplication, incomplete documentation, and the use of outdated codes.

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