Defining urinary urgency: patient descriptions of "gotta go"

Neurourol Urodyn. 2012 Apr;31(4):455-9. doi: 10.1002/nau.21242. Epub 2012 Jan 24.

Abstract

Aims: Urgency is a key symptom in the diagnosis of overactive bladder (OAB), yet its definition and measurement are subject to continuing debate whether urinary urgency is a pathologic sensation or an intensification of normal desire to pass urine. The objective of this research was to explore the concept of urgency among participants with OAB symptoms and to evaluate the content validity of the urinary sensation scale (USS).

Methods: Two qualitative studies were conducted among participants with OAB symptoms. For both studies, participants were interviewed on the USS to ascertain their ability to complete and interpret each response. Study 2 included open-ended questions to explore the concept of urgency with participants asked to describe "normal urge" and "urgency."

Results: Thirty-one men and women (Study 1, n = 12; Study 2, n = 19) participated. Nearly all participants (n = 29) thought the word descriptions for the 1-5 scale were easy to comprehend and were able to differentiate among ratings by degree of severity. Study 2 noted little difference between continent (n = 9) and incontinent (n = 10) participant descriptions of "urge or desire to urinate" and "typical sensation." The majority of the continent (n = 6) and incontinent (n = 7) participants stated they have both "regular" sensations to urinate and "urgent" sensations to urinate.

Conclusions: This qualitative research provides evidence that men and women with OAB symptoms can distinguish between "normal" urge (desire) to urinate and "urgency" suggesting that urinary urgency is a continuum, rather than an all-or-none phenomenon. The USS demonstrated content validity and was acceptable to patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urinary Bladder, Overactive / diagnosis*
  • Urinary Incontinence, Urge / diagnosis*
  • Urination / physiology