"A secret club": focus groups about women's toileting behaviors.

Understanding reasons for and impact of women's toileting behaviors on bladder health is important to prevent and manage urinary incontinence (UI) and overactive bladder (OAB).

Women, regardless of urinary incontinence (UI) and overactive bladder (OAB) status, were recruited in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Focus groups were conducted by trained female moderators and sessions were audiotaped. Participants completed an anonymous questionnaire containing validated items to determine the presence of UI and OAB. Audiotapes were transcribed and content was analyzed by two investigators to identify themes.

Twenty-four women participated (mean age 68 ± 13.4 years); most had UI (75%) or OAB (87.5%). Many women had difficulty in describing bladder health, and talked about bladder function, diseases or conditions, and control over the bladder. Four themes about toileting emerged: 1) cues/triggers/alerts women used to find and use toilets, 2) toilet cleanliness away from and at home, 3) toileting as a nuisance, and 4) situational awareness. Women described internal (e.g., sensation of heaviness) and external cues/triggers/alerts (e.g., walking by restrooms), and the trade-off between their concerns about public toilet cleanliness and the need to urinate. Some women expressed being irritated or annoyed about having to stop activities to urinate. Most women reported sitting on their home toilets, whereas, many hovered or stood over the toilet in public places.

The information gained from this study will facilitate the development of relevant public health messaging and interventions to raise public awareness about UI, OAB, and bladder health with the aim to encourage women to seek help when symptoms are present.

BMC women's health. 2019 Mar 07*** epublish ***

Mary H Palmer, Jennifer M Wu, Celine S Marquez, Betty Rupp, Mitchell M Conover, Diane K Newman

Helen W. & Thomas L. Umphlet Distinguished Professor in Aging, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB 7460, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599-7460, USA. ., Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 3032 Old Clinic Building, CB#7570, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599-7570, USA., School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB#7460, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599-7460, USA., UNC Dept. of Biostatistics, Collaborative Studies Coordinating Center, 123 W. Franklin St., Ste. 450, CB #8030, Chapel Hill, NC, 27514, USA., Department of Epidemiology, School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Gillings, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599-7435, USA., Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 3rd floor, West Pavilion, Perelman Center 34th & Civic Center Blvd, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.