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Coping Strategies And Health Care-seeking Behavior In A US National Sample Of Adults With Symptoms Suggestive Of Overactive Bladder.

J. Ricci, J. Baggish, T. Hunt, W. Stewart, A. Wein, A. Herzog, A. Diokno
Published 2001 · Medicine

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BACKGROUND Although millions of individuals have symptoms suggestive of overactive bladder (OAB), few ever seek or receive medical treatment for their condition. OBJECTIVE The purpose of this study was to describe coping strategies and health care-seeking behavior in a community-based sample of adults with symptoms suggestive of OAB. METHODS A cross-sectional household telephone survey of an age- and sex-stratified sample of adults was conducted. The survey consisted of general health-related questions as well as questions related to OAB symptoms. A total of 4896 adults completed the interview Respondents were considered to have OAB if they reported > or = 1 symptom of urinary urgency, frequency, or urge incontinence. A follow-up questionnaire was then mailed to a subsample of the telephone interview respondents. The mailed questionnaire contained questions related to type and severity of OAB symptoms, coping strategies, medical care/treatment, feelings/beliefs about OAB, and quality of life. Half of the phone respondents with urinary incontinence (n = 638) and a random sample of all other phone respondents received the mailed questionnaire (n = 873); 1,034 questionnaires were returned. RESULTS Of the respondents with OAB, 69.6% tried > or = 1 nonmedical coping strategy. Respondents with incontinent OAB were significantly more likely than those with continent OAB or those with no OAB (controls) to use nonmedical coping strategies (incontinent OAB, 76.1%; continent OAB, 59.0%; controls, 31.9%; P < 0.001). Fewer than half of the respondents with OAB (43.5%) had spoken with a provider about OAB in the previous 12 months. Medical consultation was associated with sex, type and severity of OAB, number of nonmedical coping strategies tried, number of OAB information sources consulted, inclination to try new OAB medications, and feelings/beliefs about OAB. In 90% of patient-provider discussions about OAB, the patient initiated the topic. CONCLUSIONS Individuals manage symptoms suggestive of OAB primarily by using nonmedical coping strategies rather than consulting health care providers. Results of this study support the need for improved clinical recognition of OAB and increased patient-provider communication about this condition.
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