Urinary urgency and the associated symptoms which comprise overactive bladder are prevalent amongst the general population and adversely affect quality of life. Disease management consists of a sequential series of options starting with behavioural and lifestyle techniques, pharmacological management (antimuscarinics) and, in severe cases, surgical treatment (urinary diversion, neuromodulation, augmentation cystoplasty and detrusor myectomy). There is increasing recognition of pathophysiological mechanisms in the urothelium, interstitial cells and afferent neurons allowing the importance of peripheral integrative interaction to be identified. The hierarchy of the central nervous system control adds additional complexity to understanding the oflower urinary tract function. Some newer methods of treatment include Botulinum toxin A intramural injections, oral beta-3 adrenergic agonists and rho-kinase inhibitors. The lack of a disease generating hypothesis, the lack of animal models for disease and the subjective nature of the central symptom (urgency) still pose considerable theoretical and scientific hurdles that need to be overcome in the treatment of this condition.