Overactive Bladder Symptoms in Female Health Profession Students: Bladder Diary Characteristics and Impact of Symptoms on Health-Related Quality of Life

There is limited information on overactive bladder (OAB) symptoms, their association with bladder irritants, or the effect of OAB on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in young women. We evaluated these issues in a group of young female health profession students.

All female students (n = 964) attending a university in the Pacific Northwest were recruited via email or an in-person informational meeting to participate in this descriptive cross-sectional study. Outcome measures included the OAB-questionnaire, a 4-day bladder diary, and a demographic questionnaire. OAB was diagnosed if a participant reported an average of at least one episode of urgency per day on the bladder diary. Participant characteristics, bladder diary results, and HRQoL were compared using chi square, Fisher's exact test, and t-tests.

With a response rate of 21.2%, the average participant age was 25.5 years and 21.7% of participants were identified as having OAB. Participants with OAB consumed more caffeine (mean [standard deviation [SD] 2.0 [1.5] vs. 1.5 [1.2], p = 0.016), more carbonated beverages (mean [SD] 0.5 [0.6] vs. 0.3 [0.5], p = 0.047), more total units of bladder irritants (mean [SD] 3.1 [2.0] vs. 2.1 [1.6], p = 0.002), and had significantly worse HRQoL (p = 0.001) than those without OAB. No differences were found for other parameters measured.

Participants with OAB consumed more bladder irritants than participants without OAB. Future research should address larger groups of young women from different backgrounds, as well as other factors or characteristics that could be associated with OAB.

Journal of women's health (2002). 2017 Sep 27 [Epub ahead of print]

Rebecca Reisch, Richard Rutt, Mary Dockter, Sheryl Sanders

1 School of Physical Therapy, College of Health Professions, Pacific University , Hillsboro, Oregon., 2 Department of Physical Therapy, University of Mary , Bismarck, North Dakota.