Bother Related to Bladder Control and Health Care Seeking Behavior in Adults in the United States

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We measured patient reported bother due to overactive bladder syndrome, patterns of physician consultation and prescription medication use for overactive bladder symptoms in adults in the United States.

Materials and Methods:

A survey sample was derived from a consumer panel of 600,000 American households developed to match the United States Census of 260,000 adults. The survey included the Overactive Bladder-Validated 8 awareness tool, which includes 8 questions that measure the degree of bother due to specific bladder symptoms. A score of 8 or greater denotes probable overactive bladder. Additional questions probed treatment patterns, health care consultation, overactive bladder diagnosis, treatment type and prescription treatment used. A nonrespondent telephone survey in 1,004 participants was done to evaluate differences between mail survey respondents and nonrespondents.


The response rate was 63% (162,906 respondents). Women represented 55.1% of the sample and 21.8% of respondents were 65 years old or older. Symptom bother, as determined by an Overactive Bladder-Validated 8 score of 8 or greater, was reported by 26.6% of the total sample, including 23.7% of men and 28.9% of women. The percent of men and women reporting bother increased with age. Of respondents with probable overactive bladder only 45.7% had discussed the symptoms with a medical provider, 22.5% had previously used prescription medication for overactive bladder, 13.5% had used overactive bladder medication in the last 12 months and 8.1% were currently on treatment.


A substantial proportion of adults in the United States reported some degree of bother due to overactive bladder symptoms. The degree of bother was associated with age and gender. Overall less than half of patients with probable overactive bladder discussed the symptoms with a health care provider. A small proportion was prescribed medication and an even smaller proportion was currently on treatment.

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