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Bladder Symptoms and Attitudes in an Ethnically Diverse Population

Dessie, Sybil G. MD*†‡; Adams, Sonia R. MD§; Modest, Anna M. MPH; Hacker, Michele R. ScD, MSPH†‡; Elkadry, Eman A. MD*†‡

Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery: January/February 2016 - Volume 22 - Issue 1 - p 37–42
doi: 10.1097/SPV.0000000000000213
Original Articles

Objective The aim of the study was to assess pelvic floor symptoms and attitudes in an ethnically diverse population.

Methods We conducted a cross-sectional survey of women presenting to 2 community-based, ethnically diverse gynecology clinics. Before being seen by a provider, participants were asked to complete a questionnaire.

Results A total of 312 women were included: 32.7% white, 50.3% African American, and 17.0% Hispanic. Other racial/ethnic groups were excluded secondary to small samples size. The median (interquartile range) age was 34.0 (27.0–44.0) years. The groups differed with respect to most demographic characteristics, such as income, education, and nation of origin. Nocturia and urinary frequency were the most commonly reported symptoms. African American respondents were more likely to report nocturia than white respondents (odds ratio, 2.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.2–4.8). Respondents' views of normal urinary function generally did not vary by race/ethnicity. However, Hispanic respondents were less likely than white respondents to agree that it is normal to leak urine after having children (odds ratio, 0.28; 95% confidence interval, 0.11–0.68). Among women who reported at least 1 symptom, 46.7% reported that at least 1 symptom bothered them, and this did not differ with respect to race/ethnicity (P ≥ 0.59). African American respondents were more likely than whites to report their urinary leakage to their doctors (P = 0.006).

Conclusions Our study demonstrates that with few exceptions, bladder symptoms and attitudes are similar among reproductive-age women of various racial/ethnic groups in a community setting.

Bladder symptoms and attitudes are generally similar among reproductive-age women of various racial/ethnic groups in a community setting.

From the *Division of Urogynecology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Mount Auburn Hospital, Cambridge, MA; †Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; ‡Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Harvard Medical School; and §Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, Boston, MA.

Reprints: Sybil G. Dessie, MD, Largo Medical Center - Kaiser Permanente, 1221 Mercantile Ln, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774. E-mail:

The authors have declared they have no conflicts of interest.

Supported by Harvard Catalyst/The Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center (NIH Award #UL1 RR 025758) and financial contributions from Harvard University and its affiliated academic health care centers.

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