The National Association For Continence Initiates a Survey to Examine Overactive Bladder in Women

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New Survey Supported by Medtronic, Inc. Seeks to Assess the Emotional Impact of Overactive Bladder

The National Association For Continence (NAFC) today announced that it is initiating a survey to further evaluate the impact of overactive bladder (OAB) and views on treatment by those who suffer from the condition. The NAFC survey, to be conducted by an independent marketing research company and supported by a research grant provided by Medtronic, Inc., aims to increase knowledge of OAB by addressing how patients understand the condition and its effects; how OAB sufferers manage their symptoms; the emotional burden of OAB on sufferers; and what leads people to pursue treatment.

As many as 33 million men and women suffer from overactive bladder,1 with urinary incontinence alone affecting approximately 12.2 million;2 however, many people who suffer from the condition fail to consult a physician or fail to adhere to prescribed treatment of symptoms. Overactive bladder and urinary incontinence occur about twice as frequently in women as in men and become more prevalent with advanced aging.

"Overactive bladder is a condition affecting primarily women that can result in poor quality of life, including embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, sleep deprivation, and depression or anxiety," said Nancy Muller, executive director of NAFC. "The survey results will help patients, their loved ones and healthcare professionals better understand the emotional toll this condition takes on its sufferers - and what they can do to help overcome it."

NAFC became more interested in studying the emotional impact of OAB on women following the results of surveys undertaken by the organization in 2003 and 2004. The past research examined the prevalence of bladder control problems in the U.S. and found that one-third of men and women ages 30-70 have experienced loss of bladder control at some point in their adult lives and may be still living with the symptoms.3 In its nationwide survey of women between the ages of 40 and 65, NAFC found that co-morbidities are statistically more likely to occur in patients reporting OAB symptoms than those free of OAB symptoms. Furthermore, it was learned that many women are not staying on their medications for OAB, although lapsed users reported no less severe symptoms than those remaining current with prescribed drugs for their symptoms. 4

The International Continence Society (ICS) defines OAB as "urgency, with or without urge incontinence, usually with frequency and nocturia." Typical symptoms include urinating more than eight times per day (urinary frequency) or more than once at night (nocturia) and a strong, sudden desire to urinate (urinary urgency).5 There are several forms of OAB, including but not limited to wet OAB or urge urinary incontinence (unintentional loss of urine) and dry OAB or urinary urgency without incontinence (need to urinate with ability to control the urge).5

The emotional toll of OAB on patients' lives and health can be serious. People with urinary control problems often struggle with simple everyday activities, such as working, shopping, traveling in a car or seeing a movie, for fear of embarrassing wetting episodes or not being near a restroom. As a result, many OAB patients suffer negative effects on their emotional well-being and their ability to feel at ease at work or in social situations. 5

"Medtronic is proud to collaborate with NAFC to support this important research," said Cindy Kent, Group Marketing Director of Gastroenterology and Urology Therapies at Medtronic, Inc. "We are committed to bringing OAB out of the dark, and are supporting this survey to bring necessary attention to the needs of OAB sufferers while motivating them to consider appropriate treatment options."

About the Survey
Online interviews will be administered to U.S. women 18 and older divided into three subgroups: treated sufferers who are currently using treatment for OAB; those who were formerly treated for OAB; and those who have never been treated for OAB.

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.

About Medtronic
Medtronic, Inc. (http://www.medtronic.com), headquartered in Minneapolis, is the global leader in medical technology - alleviating pain, restoring health, and extending life for millions of people around the world. Medtronic developed and leads the field of neuromodulation, the targeted and regulated delivery of electrical pulses and pharmaceuticals to specific sites in the nervous system. The company's Neuromodulation business offers innovative therapies for chronic pain, movement disorders, spasticity, overactive bladder, benign prostatic hyperplasia and gastroparesis. Medtronic's InterStim Therapy is indicated for the treatment of urinary retention and the symptoms of overactive bladder, including urinary urge incontinence and significant symptoms of urgency-frequency alone or in combination, in patients who have failed or could not tolerate more conservative treatments.

References:
1 Stewart W, Van Rooyen JB, Cundiff GW, et al. Prevalence and burden of overactive bladder in the United States. World J Urol. 2003;20 (6):327-336.
2 Stewart W, et al. Prevalence and impact of OAB in the US: results from the NOBLE program. Neurological Urodynamics.
2001; 20:406-408.
3 Muller N. What Americans Understand How they Affected by Bladder Control Problems: Highlights of Recent Nationwide Consumer Research. Urologic Nursing. 2005:25(2): 109-115.
4 Survey Reveals Communication Gap Between Health Providers and Women with OAB. Urologic Nursing. 2004:24(1): 64.
5 "Urge Urinary Incontinence/ Overactive Bladder." NAFC Web site. http://www.nafc.org/bladder-bowel-health/types-of-incontinence/urge-incontinence/. Accessed on November 13, 2008.

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