On the heels of the fourth annual World Continence Week, the American Urological Association (AUA) Foundation has launched "It's Time to Talk About OAB," a nationwide education campaign designed to elevate awareness of Overactive Bladder (OAB), a common, yet often untreated condition, as a public health issue. As many as 30 percent of men and 40 percent of women in the United States have the condition. The campaign's goal is two-fold: help patients better understand OAB symptoms and de-stigmatize the condition so that patients feel comfortable initiating a conversation with their healthcare professional – ultimately leading to diagnosis and treatment.
In tandem with the campaign launch, the AUA Foundation has also kicked-off its official call-for-entries for the Voices of OAB contest. As part of the contest, the AUA Foundation is seeking first-hand stories from patients living with OAB. To enter the Voices of OAB contest, patients should visit the dedicated Facebook page to share an audio testimonial about how OAB impacts their daily life. Official contest rules, resources and news of interest are all available on the page. The entry period will run through August 31, 2012 and official winners will be announced later this fall. Winners of the Voices of OAB contest will receive tablets loaded with applications and OAB management tools, such as the Bladder Pal, which helps patients track their bladder function.
OAB is a group of urinary symptoms that include a strong, uncontrollable urge to urinate at unexpected times, which may result in urine leakage (incontinence) and/or frequent urination during the day and night. Not all patients with OAB suffer from incontinence. The symptoms of OAB can occur if the muscles in a patient's bladder contract involuntarily when it isn't yet filled with urine. Sometimes the nerve signals between the brain and bladder go awry, sending messages to empty the bladder at unexpected times. This creates a strong urge to urinate before the bladder is full. Though not life-threatening, OAB can cause a significant impact on a patient's quality of life. Because people may be too embarrassed to share their symptoms or seek treatment, there are likely many more that suffer unnecessarily from OAB.
"We know all too well that people with OAB often keep quiet about their symptoms," said Kathleen Kobashi, MD, Head of the Section of Urology and Renal Transplantation at Virginia Mason Medical Center; Co-Director of the Pelvic Floor Center; Director of the clinical fellowship in Pelvic Floor Medicine; Associate Clinical Professor of Urology at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA and member of the AUA Foundation's OAB Expert Panel. "We want men and women to know that they have options; there is no need to endure the discomfort of OAB alone or in silence. The condition is manageable, but people need to take the first step and speak up about their OAB."
Mike Sheppard, Executive Director of the AUA Foundation added: "We are extremely optimistic about the impact of this hallmark education initiative, which will offer patients the help they need to take control of their OAB symptoms. It is our hope that by fostering open dialogue, especially through our Voices of OAB contest and physician interaction tips, we will have a positive impact on the health of Americans living with OAB."
American Urological Association Foundation