PURPOSE: To assess the effect of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for treating refractory overactive bladder syndrome (OAB). PATIENTS AND METHODS: A consecutive series of 42 patients treated with TENS for refractory OAB was prospectively investigated at an academic tertiary referral centre. Effects were evaluated using bladder diary for at least 48 h and satisfaction assessment at baseline, after 12 weeks of TENS treatment, and at the last known follow-up. Adverse events related to TENS were also assessed. RESULTS: Mean age of the 42 patients (25 women, 17 men) was 48 years (range, 18-76). TENS was successful following 12 weeks of treatment in 21 (50 %) patients, and the positive effect was sustained during a mean follow-up of 21 months (range, 6-83 months) in 18 patients. Following 12 weeks of TENS treatment, mean number of voids per 24 h decreased significantly from 15 to 11 (p < 0.001) and mean voided volume increased significantly from 160 to 230 mL (p < 0.001). In addition, TENS completely restored continence in 7 (39 %) of the 18 incontinent patients. Before TENS, all 42 patients were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied; following 12 weeks of TENS treatment, 21 (50 %) patients felt satisfied or very satisfied (p < 0.001). No adverse events related to TENS were noted. CONCLUSIONS: TENS seems to be an effective and safe treatment for refractory OAB warranting randomized, placebo-controlled trials.