Healthcare Industry News:  neuromodulation 

Devices Urology

 News Release - April 24, 2009

New National Survey Shows That Overactive Bladder Symptoms Are Pervasive and Difficult to Manage

Data Show that Among Middle-Aged Women, Overactive Bladder Symptoms Have a Ripple Effect on Lifestyle

CHICAGO--(HSMN NewsFeed)--Results from a nationwide survey of women ages 40 to 65 show that the symptoms of overactive bladder (OAB) are compromising their sense of normalcy and making their complicated lives even more difficult to manage. The survey, conducted for The National Association For Continence (NAFC) by Kelton Research and sponsored by Medtronic, Inc., (NYSE: MDT ) compared women ages 40 to 65 who have experienced symptoms of OAB, which affect as many as 33 million Americans, to women in the same age group overall. Survey results were unveiled during the American Urological Association Annual Meeting being held April 25 through April 30 in Chicago.

Impact of OAB

Both groups of women say that physical health is more important than emotional health when it comes to living a normal life. In fact, nearly nine in 10 women in each group say that being healthy is a prerequisite to achieving a sense of balance in life – far more than those who report needing adequate levels of money or time to achieve balance. Unfortunately, just over half of women surveyed describe their health as normal, with OAB sufferers reporting feeling physically normal less often than women in this age group overall – 56 percent of the time among OAB sufferers vs. 71 percent among women in general.

Women with OAB also report lower levels of normalcy in other aspects of their lives, including their relationships with friends and family, emotional state, careers, and social lives than reported by women overall. In fact, despite a trying economy, more than one in four (26 percent) women with OAB are more concerned about managing their OAB symptoms than saving for retirement.

Treatment Satisfaction

For many women with OAB, the symptoms are more than a physical issue. An overwhelming majority (78 percent) of women with OAB who have sought treatment did so because they were frustrated with living with the symptoms – far fewer (38 percent) were motivated by physical discomfort. Unfortunately, almost half (49 percent) of women with OAB don’t think they’ll ever be able to completely control their symptoms.

Almost nine in ten (88 percent) women who have treated their OAB have turned to medication. But one in four (25 percent) women currently treating their OAB – nearly two in five (38 percent) of whom have been doing so for at least two years – are not satisfied with how they are managing their condition.

“This data demonstrates that a considerable number of middle-aged women are frustrated with their OAB treatment,” said Nancy Muller, executive director of NAFC. “There needs to be more public education so people are made aware of their options for OAB treatment beyond just medications. Clearly, there’s room for more engagement for discussion by primary care providers with their patients.”

Doctor/Patient Dialogue

While lack of effectiveness from medications is blamed by one-third of patients, as was true five years ago, patient dissatisfaction with current OAB treatment approaches could be due, in part, to the lack of communication about the topic between patients and physicians. Three in five (60 percent) women with OAB admit they’d be be more comfortable discussing menopause with their doctor than talking about their OAB symptoms. Unfortunately, almost three in four (74 percent) women with OAB say that they waited longer than they should have to finally seek treatment after their first symptoms.

“By the time patients show up in my office ready to talk about OAB, more often than not they have been suffering with the aggravation of OAB for many years,” said Kristene Whitmore, M.D., the director of the Pelvic and Sexual Health Institute and chair of female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery at Drexel University College of Medicine. “With all of the treatment options that are available today – from bladder retraining exercises and medications to treatments like sacral nerve stimulation – women shouldn’t have to struggle with OAB. Doctors need to do more to make sure that their patients, even some of their younger patients, are effectively managing symptoms of OAB.”

An overwhelming majority (89 percent) of women with OAB are open to altering their current course of treatment. Nearly half (44 percent) say that they would do so if a treatment were recommended by a physician. Thirty-seven percent would alter therapy if they experienced no improvement in their OAB symptoms, and 35 percent would alter therapy due to medication side effects, such as dry mouth, constipation, dry skin and blurred vision.

“Medtronic is committed to working with patients and physicians to bring OAB out of the dark and ensure that people suffering with the disorder understand the full range of available treatments,” said Richard E. Kuntz, M.D., senior vice president and president of the neuromodulation business at Medtronic. “We have a long history of helping patients who have not been successfully treated with traditional treatments, and that includes more than 55,000 patients worldwide who have received InterStim Therapy, which helps people find relief from OAB.”

About the Survey

This online survey, which was conducted by an independent research agency, compared a nationally representative sample of 500 women ages 40 to 65 with a 600-person sample of women who had been diagnosed with OAB. Women with OAB were further categorized into three groups: those who had never been treated, those who were currently on treatment and those who had discontinued treatment.

About the National Association For Continence (NAFC)

NAFC is a 501 (c) 3 corporation whose mission is threefold: 1) to educate the public about the causes, diagnosis categories, treatment options, and management alternatives for bladder and bowel control problems, voiding dysfunction, nocturnal enuresis, and related pelvic floor disorders; 2) to network with other organizations and agencies to elevate the visibility and priority given to these areas; and 3) to advocate on behalf of consumers who suffer from such symptoms as a result of disease or other illness, obstetrical, surgical or other trauma, or deterioration due to the aging process itself. NAFC is broadly funded by consumers, healthcare professionals and industry. It is the world’s largest and most prolific consumer advocacy organization devoted exclusively to this field, found at

About Medtronic

Medtronic, Inc. (, headquartered in Minneapolis, is the global leader in medical technology – alleviating pain, restoring health, and extending life for millions of people around the world.

Source: Medtronic

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