SUFU 2019: Exploring Women’s and Adolescents’ Lay Discourse About Bladder Health and Function

Miami, FL ( This poster was presented to introduce a study of women’s and adolescents’ experiences and beliefs regarding bladder health. Primary objectives included evaluation of lay language attributes and assessment of processes, which influence women’s perspectives towards bladder function.

The Study of Habits, Attitudes, Realities, and Experiences (SHARE) was conducted by the Prevention of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (PLUS) Research Consortium in seven participating centers in the U.S. and included 360 female participants. Forty-four focus groups were arranged by six age categories: 11-14, 15-17, 18-25, 26-44, 45-64, 65+ years of age. Focus group moderators audio-recorded women’s and adolescents’ responses, which were transcribed and analyzed for the common themes. In addition, field notes were taken to document nonverbal clues. Study coders have developed a codebook, which was used to interpret emerging trends in terminology. Community engagement panel verified focus group findings.

Study analysis resulted in the variability of specific terms describing bladder health and function. Research participants indicated formal and informal ways of defining bladder issues, lay language related to the basic function and severity of symptoms, and geographical and cultural variations in terminology. According to the poster, terminology was viewed in a social-historical, interpersonal, and emotional context. Respondents indicated that conversations about bladder health usually occur between friends and family, and it is difficult to find the right terminology to define a concept of bladder function. Casual interpretations can downplay and destigmatize bladder issues by humorizing a situation.

Data shows that lay terminology is defined by the historical and life-course influences, social norms and practices. Research suggests that females lack necessary medical terms to define physical and psychological outcomes of urinary conditions. Shared personal stories gave an overview of existing lay terminology usually used in a close group of friends and family, but didn’t provide a set of terms to translate personal experiences into public health messages. Thus it is important to move from the realm of shameful individual occurrences and promote bladder health concept as a public health concern.

Presented by: Kathryn L Burgio, the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, Department of Veterans Affairs.
Co-Authors: Beverly R. Williams, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, Department of Veterans Affairs; Jesse Nodora, University of California-San Diego, Moores Cancer Center; Diane K Newman, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine; Lisa Kane Low, University of Michigan School of Nursing, Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Aimee S James, Washington University School of Medicine, Division of Public Health Sciences; Deepa R Camenga, Yale University School of Medicine, Dept. of Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics; Jeni Hebert-Beirne, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health; Sonya S Brady, University of Minnesota School of Public Health; Cecilia T Hardacker, Howard Brown Health, Chicago, IL; for the PLUS Consortium, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

Written by: Hanna Stambakio, BS, Clinical Research Coordinator, Division of Urology, University of Pennsylvania, Twitter: @AStambakio at the Society of Urodynamics, Female Pelvic Medicine & Urogenital Reconstruction Winter Meeting, SUFU 2019, February 26 - March 2, 2019, Miami, Florida

Edited by: Susan Small, RPh, Digital Science Press, Inc.

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