4. Urgency

These notes are for use together with the Colley Model.


Urgency is the complaint of a sudden, compelling desire to pass urine, which is difficult to defer (D’Ancona CD et al, 2019). Urinary urgency is not normal. If the desire to void has been deferred several times, then increasing urgency can be experienced. This can happen if, for example you are stuck in a traffic jam on a motorway! Urgency may occur after drinking fluids which appear to be an irritant to the bladder in that individual, most commonly those containing caffeine, carbonated drinks, some fruit juices and alcohol.


Urinary tract infection
Reduction of oestrogen levels at the menopause
The side-effects of some medication
Neurological disease
Bladder pathology
Overactive bladder syndrome
Secondary to bladder outlet obstruction

Urinary urgency and/or frequency can occur in women as a symptom of ovarian cancer. Refer to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/ovarian-cancer/symptoms/ and if in any doubt, refer the patient to their GP for further examination and tests.


D’Ancona CD, Haylen BT, Oelke M, Herschorn S, Abranches-Monteiro L, Arnold EP, Goldman HB, Hamid R, Homma Y, Marcelissen T, Rademakers K, Schizas A, Singla A, Soto I, Tse V, de Wachter S. An International Continence Society (ICS) Report on the Terminology for Adult Male Lower Urinary Tract and Pelvic Floor Symptoms and Dysfunction. Neurourol Urodyn. 2019 DOI: 10.1002/nau.23897