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OAB: the new side effect that a study links to Covid vaccines

A study carried out by Kaohsiung Medical University, in Taiwan, and published by the ‘Journal of Clinical Medicine’, has linked a new side effect to vaccination against Covid. This is overactive bladder, also known as OAB. People with this urological disorder experience a sudden urge to urinate, and may even leak. This urgency can occur both during the day and at night, also affecting sleep. Therefore, it sometimes causes other problems such as anxiety, sleep disturbance or depression derived from the impossibility of leading a normal life.

Based on previous studies that put on the table the possible link of Covid vaccines with certain problems related to urine, the group of researchers from Kaohsiung Medical University conducted an online survey. Of the 889 people who completed the full questionnaire, 119 (13.4%) reported experiencing a deterioration in lower urinary tract symptoms such as urinary urgency, incontinence, and the need to urinate many times during the day or night after receiving the Covid vaccine. Even 49 (5.5%) had to seek medical help.

Of these 889 survey participants, who had been vaccinated with doses of AstraZeneca, Moderna or Pfizer, 71 had been diagnosed with overactive bladder syndrome prior to vaccination. In these cases, after receiving the first injection, a higher risk of urinary urgency was observed (14.08% vs. 5.38%), as well as greater urinary frequency and a general worsening of OAB-related symptoms.

The researchers point to the immune response generated by the vaccine as a possible explanation for the appearance of this urinary condition or its worsening. «Vaccination can activate a cytokine response or a Toll-like receptor-induced inflammatory response, leading to the infiltration of antigen-presenting cells, such as macrophages or dendritic cells, and resulting in systemic and localized inflammatory responses… , and cause intramolecular alterations that can eventually decrease the threshold of detrusor contractility and cause storage,” explains the final report.

However, this side effect would be among the least common. The most common after vaccination against Covid continue to be pain at the site of the puncture, headache, malaise, fatigue, chills, fever, lymphadenopathy (swelling of the nodes), arthralgia (joint pain) or axillary pain, among others.