Beyond the Abstract - Misconceptions and miscommunication among aging women with overactive bladder symptoms, by Aqsa Khan, MD and Ariana L. Smith, MD

BERKELEY, CA ( - Overactive bladder is prevalent in up to 16% of women.

Studies have shown that age is not an independent risk factor for lower urinary tract symptoms. Often, other factors contribute to a woman’s interpretation of her symptoms. This, in combination with a poor understanding of the underlying disease processes that lead to overactive bladder, may have a great impact on the quality of life of these women.

The goal of our study was to evaluate what women believe to be the etiology and physiology of overactive bladder in order to maximize quality of care. In order to achieve this, focus groups were conducted with women with OAB-wet and OAB-dry symptoms. Qualitative analysis was used to extract theory implicit within the transcripts. Grounded theory methodology, as described by Charmaz, was used to analyze all the transcripts. Six preliminary themes were abstracted which were further categorized into two main categories. First, there were many misconceptions among the patients, and second, there was poor communication between the patient and health-care provider. In the first category, four preliminary themes reveal that the misconceptions centered around:

  1. a lack of understanding of the etiology of OAB,
  2. a confusion with other pelvic disorders,
  3. a lack of understanding of the diagnostic tests, and
  4. the definition of incontinence.

In the second category, two preliminary themes illustrate poor communication between the patient and the provider,

  1. over kegel exercises, and
  2. over medications.

The emergent concepts revealed from this data are that there is dissatisfaction with the care provided, the patients’ expectations need to be better managed, and there needs to be better communication with this population. The findings from this study are significant given the prevalence of overactive bladder and the need for improvement in the quality of care provided to aging women. Efforts will need to be made to remedy the misconceptions and improve communication in order to maximize results and satisfaction.



Written by:
Aqsa Khan, MD and Ariana L. Smith, MD as part of Beyond the Abstract on This initiative offers a method of publishing for the professional urology community. Authors are given an opportunity to expand on the circumstances, limitations etc... of their research by referencing the published abstract.


Misconceptions and miscommunication among aging women with overactive bladder symptoms - Abstract Overactive Bladder (OAB) Section

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