Underactive bladder, estimated to affect more than 20 percent of the elderly population, is an unrecognized disease that has a major influence on the health and independence of seniors.
Beaumont Health System urologists hope to heighten awareness of underactive bladder, or UAB, through an international forum funded in part by the National Institutes of Health. The Feb. 20-21 Congress of Urologic Research and Education on Aging Underactive Bladder, orCURE-UAB, in Bethesda, Md., is attracting physicians, researchers and nurses from around the world for scientific discussion and interdisciplinary collaboration.
Underactive bladder syndrome is a chronic, complex and debilitating disease affecting a person's ability to empty their bladder. Those with an underactive bladder can hold unusually large amounts of urine but have a diminished sense of when the bladder is full and are not able to contract the muscles sufficiently or forcefully enough to empty the bladder.
Symptoms and severity of the condition can vary. Some with UAB must use a strawcatheter several times a day to empty their bladder. This puts them at risk of developing catheter-associated infections. Others have indwelling catheters, left in place for a period of time, or undergo surgical procedures to relieve UAB symptoms.
UAB is primarily associated with aging, diabetes, and neurological diseases, and itis a major cause of nursing home admissions. Currently, no medications or therapies have proven effective in the long-term treatment of UAB and no known cure exists. UAB can also lead to other conditions such as urinary tract infections, bladder stones, or, in severe cases, kidney damage. The emotional effects of the disease can be devastating‒causing embarrassment, and diminishing both quality of life and independence.
"CURE-UAB is the first meeting dedicated to discussion of underactive bladder and features a world-renowned faculty," says Michael Chancellor, M.D., director, neuro-urology, Beaumont Health System. "Our goal is to bring the world's top clinicians and researchers together to collaborate and promote advancement of underactive bladder research and education"
Physicians and researchers from as far away as Australia, Japan, and India are expected to attend.
At the forum, Beaumont researchers will present the results of the first population-based research of underactive bladder syndrome. Twenty-three percent of the 633 respondents in Metro Detroit reported having a problem emptying the bladder completely, yet only 11 percent had ever heard of UAB. Those reporting UAB symptoms were twice as likely to describe their health as "poor" or "fair" compared to other respondents. The results suggest that the burden and impact of UAB are significant.
Dr. Chancellor will discuss novel therapies for treating UAB, including stem cell and gene therapy. The world's first stem cell treatment for UAB was performed at Beaumont last September.