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Overactive Bladder (OAB) Impacts 20 Million Women in the U.S., Yet 80 Percent Never Seek Treatment

PFD Alliance Launches Nationwide Public Awareness Campaign to Educate and Empower Women about OAB

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 2, 2012) /PRNewswire/ — Nearly one in five women in the United States (U.S.) suffer from overactive bladder (OAB),I, II yet 80 percent of women with OAB never seek treatment and more than half believe that there are no effective treatments.III As a result, women who suffer from OAB try to manage the condition on their own through coping strategies that include pads, dark clothing, toilet mapping and avoiding social activities outside the home. Research shows that trying individual coping strategies may lead to a decline in quality of life, lost productivity and increased psychological distress.IV, V, VI

This November, during National Bladder Awareness Month, the PFD (Pelvic Floor Disorder) Alliance wants to help the millions of women living with OAB through the launch of the “Break Free Today” campaign for OAB. The campaign is intended to raise awareness of OAB and empower women to know that they do not have to suffer in silence or try to manage OAB on their own. OAB can be effectively treated by working with a urogynecologist and having a more knowledgeable conversation with your doctor.

OAB is characterized by symptoms that include an uncontrollable urge to go to the bathroom, usually along with these other symptoms:V, VII, VIII

“Unfortunately, many women who suffer from OAB either consider it a normal part of aging, or believe there is no available treatment. Women need to know that there are effective ways to treat OAB,” said Karen Noblett, MD, professor and division director for urogynecology at the University of California, Irvine. “By providing women with the knowledge to better understand their OAB symptoms and the tools to track how it affects their life, we hope to help millions improve their health and daily quality of life”.

To “Break Free Today” start with the following steps:

  1. Visit to learn more about OAB, use interactive tools to learn more about your symptoms and better prepare to discuss OAB with a doctor.
  2. Refer to the online tool, ‘Five Questions to Ask Yourself’ about OAB, before visiting a doctor to ensure a better dialogue about your individual symptoms.
  3. Use the downloadable ‘Life Impact Tracker’ to uncover how OAB impacts your life over time. Recognizing the ways OAB dictates your day-to-day life is important when speaking with a doctor.
  4. Call a doctor and schedule an appointment to discuss your OAB treatment options.
  5. Be open and honest about your family history and your symptoms, and keep in mind that with the right tools and conversations with your doctor, you can help treat OAB.IX

“With our ‘Break Free Today’ campaign for OAB, we want to help women get their lives back on track. Toilet mapping, avoiding social situations and negative effects on your sex life do not have to be a reality for people suffering from OAB,” said Kristine E. Whitmore, MD, chair of the American Urogynecologic Society Foundation. “The PFD Alliance is working to bring attention to very common and treatable conditions with the end goal to empower women, and men, to take more control of their health.”

For more information on OAB, visit

About PFD Alliance
The PFD Alliance was created in September 2011 to bring together the expertise and resources of various partners across advocacy, professional medical organizations, health providers and scientific discovery corporations to increase awareness of pelvic floor disorders (PFDs) and the non-surgical and surgical treatment options of female pelvic floor disorders.

The founding members of the PFD Alliance include the American Urogynecologic Society (AUGS), The Foundation for Female Health Awareness and Boston Scientific Corporation. Supporting members will be added to the PFD Alliance throughout 2012 and 2013. All Alliance members are working from a shared vision to improve the quality of life for women through education and access to a comprehensive list of treatment options such that women with a PFD may develop an individualized treatment plan to meet their needs.

MSD Consumer Care, Inc, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc has paid for the overactive bladder portion of this program to be developed and provided to you and has provided editorial input on this program.

I US Census Bureau, 2008 National Population Projections, Projected Population by Single Year of Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin for the United States: July 1, 2000 to July 1, 2050. Accessed 09 Feb 2012.

II Verbrugge LM, Patrick DL. Seven chronic conditions: their impact on US adults’ activity levels and use of medical services. Am J Public Health. 1995; 173-182.

III Survey of Adult Women with OAB. Harris Interactive. 2003.

IV Shaw C. A review of the psychosocial predictors of health-seeking behaviour and impact on quality of life in people with urinary incontinence. J Clin Nurs. 2001;10:15-24.

V Sand P, Zinner N et al. Oxybutynin transdermal system improves the quality of life in adults with overactive bladder: a multicentre, community-based, randomized study. BJU Int. 2006;99:836-844.

VI Irwin DE, Milsom I et al. Symptom bother and health care-seeking behavior among individuals with overactive bladder. Eur Urol. 2008;53:1029-1039.

VII Coyne KS, Matza LS, Brewster-Jordan J. We have to stop again?! The impact of overactive bladder on family members. Neurolurol Urodyn. 2009; DOI 10.1002/nau.20705: 1-7.

VIII Muller N. Overactive bladder in middle age women: the frustration of baby boomers with OAB symptoms. Ann Urol. 2010;1:1-8.

IX Lukacz ES, Sampselle C et al. A healthy bladder: a consensus statement. Int J Clin Pract. 2011;65:1026-1036.


OAB Infographic
OAB Infographic

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