I never knew anyone who peed on themselves on purpose: Exploring adolescent and adult women's lay language and discourse about bladder health and function.

This analysis explored and characterized adolescent and adult women's lay language and discourse related to bladder health/function.

Forty-four focus groups were conducted across seven United States research centers with 360 adolescents and adult women, organized by six age categories. Multilevel content analyses classified emergent themes. A transdisciplinary lens and inductive approach guided data interpretation. Interpretive insights were validated by a community engagement panel.

A repertoire of bladder function terms emerged, including explicit functional terms, formal and polite euphemistic terms, and informal familiar terms, as well as cultural and regional metaphors and idioms. Terminology usage was historically grounded, developmental, and cumulative across the life course. Lay discourse was contextual and affectively valent, suggesting unspoken, commonly understood, situation-based "rules" for talking about bladder function. Discourse appeared to be siloed within family and friendship circles. Adolescents and adult women often described, rather than named, bladder sensations or problems. Terminology for bladder issues tended to minimize severity and frequency, with medical language only relevant to extreme examples and not applicable to mild episodes.

A definitional discordance between medical and lay views of bladder problems was identified, signifying a need to clarify the meaning of medical terms for lay persons. Adolescents and adult women do not have or use standardized precise terminology for bladder health and function, relying instead on social convention and interpersonal context. Findings can be used to foster shared understandings between lay persons and health professionals, informing development of clinical, research, and public health initiatives to promote bladder health.

Neurourology and urodynamics. 2019 Oct 02 [Epub ahead of print]

Beverly Rosa Williams, Jesse Nodora, Diane K Newman, Lisa Kane Low, Aimee S James, Deepa R Camenga, Jeni Hebert-Beirne, Sonya S Brady, Cecilia T Hardacker, Ariana L Smith, Shayna D Cunningham, Kathryn L Burgio

Department of Medicine, Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics and Palliative Care, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), Alabama., Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California-San Diego Moores Cancer Center, San Diego, California., Adjunct Professor of Urology in Surgery, Department of Surgery, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania., Women's Studies and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Michigan, Michigan., Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, Washington., Department of Emergency Medicine (Pediatrics), Section of Research, Yale School of Medicine, Connecticut., Community Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, Illinois., Division of Epidemiology & Community Health, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minnesota., Department of Education, Center for Education, Research and Advocacy, Howard Brown Health, Chicago, Illinois., Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Pennsylvania., Social and Behavioral Sciences Department, Yale School of Public Health, Connecticut., Department of Medicine, Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics and Palliative Care, Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, Department of Veterans Affairs, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and Birmingham/Atlanta, Alabama.