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J Urol. 2005 Sep;174(3):972-6.

Using the circumstances of symptom experience to assess the severity of urgency in the overactive bladder.

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  • 1Whittington Hospital, London, United Kingdom.



We identified a method for quantifying the symptoms of the overactive bladder that addresses the assessment of urgency.


An observational study of a cohort was used. Data were collected prospectively from 5,423 consultations on 1,797 patients (158 males and 1,639 females) being assessed and treated for the overactive bladder. The study was conducted during 5 years. The reported frequencies and incontinence episodes were recorded. Using ranked ordinal scales (none, mild, moderate, severe) the symptoms of urgency and urge incontinence associated with waking and rising, hearing running water, arriving home ("latchkey"), cold weather and when feeling tired or worried were noted. The experiences of urgency and urge incontinence, without reference to the circumstances in which they were experienced were similarly assessed and if on treatment, they were asked to grade their overall response.


Reported urinary frequency and incontinence episodes were strongly associated with patient grading of response to treatment. Therefore, the symptoms assessed on the scale of none, mild, moderate and severe were compared with disease severity by using reported frequency and incontinence episodes. The description of the symptoms with reference to the situations in which they were experienced showed clear associations with frequency and incontinence, falling along a progressive scale. An overall pattern could be detected in that at points on the scale of none, mild, moderate and severe, the least frequency and incontinence tended to be associated with waking, rising and latchkey symptoms. Next followed symptoms precipitated by running water and cold weather. Aggravation by fatigue or worry was associated with the greatest disease severity (ANOVA F = 8.9, p <0.001). This scale covered a wide range from frequencies of 7 to 15 times daily and incontinence episodes through 0 to 4 times daily.


Qualifying the experience of urgency and urge incontinence, according to the circumstances in which these symptoms are experienced, seems to offer a promising new method for assessing the severity of urgency and urge incontinence.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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