Rise for Health Study: Investigating Bladder Health and LUTS in Women Across Ages - Siobhan Sutcliffe

May 20, 2024

Diane Newman interviews Siobhan Sutcliffe about her research on the Preventive Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (PLUS) Consortium, specifically focusing on the Rise for Health Study. Dr. Sutcliffe explains that the study aims to understand factors promoting bladder health and preventing lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) in women. The cohort study, started in May 2022, includes women aged 18 and older from across the U.S. Findings reveal that nearly 80% of participants experience LUTS at least a few times a week, with higher prevalence in older women. The study uses mailed surveys and includes a follow-up at one and two years. Dr. Sutcliffe highlights that this research is groundbreaking in its comprehensive approach, covering a wide age range and diverse geographic locations. The study is expected to provide valuable insights into the changes in LUTS over time.


Siobhan Sutcliffe, PhD, ScM, MHS, Professor of Surgery, Mary Culver Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO

Diane K. Newman, DNP, ANP-BC, BCB-PMD, FAAN, Adjunct Professor of Urology in Surgery, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and Former Co-Director of the Penn Center for Continence and Pelvic Health, Philadelphia, PA

Read the Full Video Transcript

Diane Newman: Hi, welcome. I'm Diane Newman. I'm a nurse practitioner, and I'm here at the AUA talking with a colleague of mine, Professor Siobhan Sutcliffe, who's at Wash U, right? In St. Louis?

Siobhan Sutcliffe: Washington University.

Diane Newman: Can you tell us a little bit about what you're doing and what you're doing there at the university, but also about the research that you're doing?

Siobhan Sutcliffe: Sure. I am an epidemiologist and professor in the Division of Public Health Sciences in the Department of Surgery at Washington University. And I do research on a number of different conditions, including female lower urinary tract symptoms, urologic chronic pelvic pain syndrome, prostate cancer, and a few others.

Diane Newman: Yeah, we're here today. We're going to talk about something that you and I are both involved in, have been involved in for now, what? Nine years. And that's the NIDDK-supported PLUS Consortium (Preventive Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms). And Siobhan, you were presenting today here at the AUA on our study, our longitudinal study in women. So could you talk a little bit about what you presented here at the conference?

Siobhan Sutcliffe: Sure. Yeah. So the study that I presented is called the Rise for Health Study. It's a study that we started in May of 2022. It's ongoing. It's a cohort study of women with the goal of trying to understand factors that promote bladder health in women and prevent lower urinary tract symptoms. We'd also like to try to understand the distribution of bladder health in the American female population.

Diane Newman: And your research here is on what the lower urinary tract symptoms were in this cohort. And these were women across the lifespan, correct?

Siobhan Sutcliffe: Right. So to be eligible to be in the study, participants just had to be 18 years of age or older. So I think some of our participants may go up to a hundred. And so today what I presented was the prevalence of a wide range of lower urinary tract symptoms in this population.

Diane Newman: And tell us a little bit about what you found.

Siobhan Sutcliffe: Well, we found that lower urinary tract symptoms are common in American women. We found that almost 80% of women said that they experienced some of these symptoms at least a few times a week. And then when we looked at women who experienced them at least half the time in the last week, it was, I think, around 40%.

Diane Newman: Now we did surveys, right? So we sent out two surveys initially and then we followed them up in one year. Correct?

Siobhan Sutcliffe: Correct. Yes. So the data that I presented today was just related to those first two surveys right at the start of the study. Right now, we are getting new information from those women one year later. So we haven't analyzed those data yet, but maybe that's an interview we can do next year.

Diane Newman: And tell me, did you find more symptoms in older age women, or what was the breakdown? Because we did look at the different age groups, correct?

Siobhan Sutcliffe: Right. So we found more symptoms in women who were older, but even in women as young as 18 to 25, we did still see some reported symptoms.

Diane Newman: What symptoms though? Stress incontinence, urgency, frequency, urgency incontinence?

Siobhan Sutcliffe: Right. Across the board.

Diane Newman: Across the board?

Siobhan Sutcliffe: All of the 10 symptoms that we looked at, we saw at least to some degree in even the younger women.

Diane Newman: Give us a little bit more information about the group, though. These were basically ambulatory women, correct?

Siobhan Sutcliffe: So in order to be in the study, they had to be living in the community because we mailed invitations to them. They had to be female, either born female or identifying as female. And I think those were our only requirements to be in this study.

Diane Newman: And it was across all of our sites, right? So it was really across the US, it was a nice representation of women. Correct?

Siobhan Sutcliffe: Yeah. So Diane, as you know, we have nine sites that we recruited from. They're located throughout the country. I think we have one in Connecticut going down as far south as Atlanta, Alabama, and a site in California. So we have sites throughout the country that we invited participants from.

Diane Newman: And then we follow them one year, and now we're going to follow them for two years, correct? And are we going to ask for the LUT symptoms also of that cohort? Who would answer at the two-year mark, right?

Siobhan Sutcliffe: Yeah. So an exciting new development with the study is that we will be able to follow them a little bit longer than we had thought. So right now we're collecting data at the one-year point, and we just started... I think the one-year follow-up is ending. We're just starting to collect data at a two-year time point, which will give us even more information about changes in lower urinary tract symptoms over time.

Diane Newman: This is exciting because there isn't research in this kind of group, right? We're talking about across the lifespan, starting at the age of 18, on up to whatever, but also in the community. So I think that... and our total numbers now of what you reported on was?

Siobhan Sutcliffe: Right. So today I reported on about 3,000 of the women. So I think we had about 3,400 participants who answered our mail, and about 3,000 were included in the analysis that I presented this morning. As with all cohort studies, fewer participants filled out the survey at one year as expected, and probably a little bit fewer will fill it out at two years, but we should still have, I think, about 2,000 women at two years.

Diane Newman: Well, thanks so much for sharing your research with our viewers. This is really exciting stuff, something that you and I love, lower urinary tract symptoms, so thanks so much.

Siobhan Sutcliffe: You're very welcome. Thank you, Diane.