Views of Normal Bladder Function Among Women Experiencing Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms

Urology. 2021 Apr:150:103-109. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2020.08.021. Epub 2020 Aug 22.


Objective: To explore the perspectives of normal bladder function among women with lower urinary tract symptoms.

Methods: This was a secondary analysis of qualitative data from structured interviews with 50 adult women with lower urinary tract symptoms. A directed content analysis of the transcripts explored women's perspectives on normal bladder function.

Results: Participants' descriptions of "normal" took many forms and were based on several aspects of bladder function. A prominent feature of normal was that voiding occurred as a seamless process, beginning with an urge sensation, followed by voiding with ease and to completion, and then "being done." Descriptions of normal were based largely on concepts of voiding regularity, including voiding frequency, intervals, and patterns during the day and night. Another aspect of normal bladder function was the notion of having control in terms of not leaking urine, as well as the ability to hold urine and defer urination. Views of normal bladder function extended to the absence of symptoms and the impact of being symptom-free on day-to-day life, including not having to think about or worry about the bladder or limit daily activities.

Conclusion: Women's perspectives on normal bladder function are multifaceted, reflecting attributes most salient to each individual and likely informed by their personal experience with symptoms and their influence on daily life. This work has implications for how clinicians might engage women in discussing bladder symptoms and can inform future research and public health messaging about normal bladder function.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms / physiopathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Qualitative Research
  • Urinary Bladder / physiopathology*
  • Urination / physiology*
  • Young Adult