Millions of people in the US live with overactive bladder – but many will wait years before they even ask for help.
“The first step to improving patient experience for these people is helping them to see a care pathway exists,” says Jessica Bateman, Senior Manager of Patient & Research Advocacy at the American Urological Association (AUA).
As many as 30 percent of men and 40 percent of women in the US live with overactive bladder symptoms, Jessica notes, quoting data from the Urology Care Foundation.
“Unfortunately, many people experiencing symptoms do not ask for help. They may feel embarrassed or perhaps are not sure how to talk with their healthcare provider.
“They think they are stuck,” Jessica adds.
Getting conversations started
On average, it takes an estimated six years from the onset of overactive bladder symptoms before a patient speaks to their doctor, Jessica notes, adding that during this time, a person’s quality of life may decrease, as many experience depression and become isolated from family and friends.
“Our goal is to start conversations earlier,” Jessica points out, “so we can improve the overall patient experience.”
“We encourage patients to communicate bladder symptoms to their healthcare team upon onset. This ensures the best possible patient outcomes.”
There is no “one-size fits all” treatment approach for bladder conditions, and the options available will very much depend on the patient’s lifestyle and personal preferences, Jessica explains. Patient-centered care is paramount to achieve patient satisfaction in conditions such as overactive bladder.
“It is encouraged for patients and families to become educated about all treatment options available and then make a treatment decision that best complements the patient’s lifestyle and preferences,” she says.