Nationwide Survey Conducted for National Association For Continence Shows Americans Divided: Bathroom Seen as Both Comforting and Confining

For Millions of Americans, Habits May Signal a Potential Medical Condition



Apr 04, 2001, 01:00 ET from National Association for Continence

    SPARTANBURG, S.C., April 5 /PRNewswire/ -- In a new national survey on
 bathroom habits, Americans report spending an average of one hour in the
 bathroom each day -- almost two weeks each year.  And, most Americans admit
 that they immediately locate a bathroom when visiting a new location,
 especially those with a sudden urge to urinate.
     Results of the 1,001-person survey, conducted on behalf of the National
 Association For Continence (NAFC) in shopping malls nationwide, highlight
 bathroom behaviors of everyday Americans -- behaviors that left respondents
 divided.  For some, dependence on the bathroom may signal a potential medical
 problem, confining personal freedom, while for others, the bathroom provides
 comfort from life's stresses.
     So what's the attraction?  While many survey respondents admitted to using
 the bathroom for reading (53 percent), engaging in deep thought (47 percent),
 or talking on the phone (33 percent), many respondents indicated that a
 frequent urge to answer nature's call often prompts extra visits to the
 bathroom.
     Additional survey statistics allude to the shame and embarrassment
 Americans often associate with bathroom habits.
 
     -- One-third of respondents (33 percent) at least sometimes wait until no
        one else is in a public restroom to use the facilities, and one in five
        (21 percent) sometimes run the faucet while using the toilet to avoid
        being heard.
     -- Women are less inclined than men to use a unisex restroom while at
        work.  Only 38 percent of female respondents said they would feel
        comfortable using a unisex restroom at work.
     -- The majority of people -- 66 percent -- have never discussed urinary
        health with their doctor.  And, among those who suffer from urine
        leakage, less than half have actually discussed their urinary health
        concerns with their doctor.
 
     Signs of a Larger Problem
     The frequent urge to urinate often makes locating a bathroom a concern for
 many when visiting an unfamiliar location.  In fact, 62 percent of respondents
 indicated they scout out bathrooms when visiting an amusement park, and
 61 percent do the same at the movies.  While this "toilet mapping" behavior is
 not necessarily uncommon, it may signal a potential medical problem.  And,
 survey results may indicate a larger health issue for Americans aged
 50 or older, as respondents in this age range reported they were more likely
 than younger people to first locate the facilities at most new locations.  The
 apprehension about finding a restroom in public places may lead individuals
 with overactive bladder (OAB) to isolate themselves from social activities.
     "Altering daily activities to accommodate immediate access to a bathroom
 is behavior often consistent with the symptoms of overactive bladder -- a
 treatable medical condition in most instances," said Dr. Jenelle Foote,
 assistant professor of Urology, Emory University School of Medicine.  "As the
 survey results indicate, this problem is more widespread than people believe,
 impacting the lives of both young and old, women and men."
 
     Symptoms and Impact of Bladder Control Problems
     Overactive bladder is characterized by urinary frequency, urgency and
 "urinary urge incontinence" -- the involuntary loss of urine sufficient to be
 a problem.  Almost half -- 44 percent -- of survey respondents aged 60-70
 admitted to enduring some of these symptoms.  It is estimated from previous
 research that 17 million Americans suffer from this type of incontinence.
     There are several effective treatment options for OAB.  Drug therapy
 prevents erratic contractions of the muscles in the bladder, while behavioral
 techniques called pelvic muscle exercises (PMEs) and bladder training may help
 patients regain control over their bladder.  Eighty percent of those who seek
 treatment see a drastic improvement in their quality of life.  However, early
 recognition and treatment are key to preventing the need for more invasive
 measures later in life.
     Urine leakage induced by laughing, coughing or sneezing may indicate a
 different problem, known as "stress incontinence."  This condition is
 especially prevalent among women who have experienced vaginal childbirth.  The
 combination of urge and stress incontinence is referred to as "mixed
 incontinence."  Twenty-two percent of women respondents aged 30-70 admitted to
 frequently experiencing symptoms of mixed incontinence, versus only four
 percent of men.
     Pelvic muscle exercises are the best form of prevention for stress
 incontinence.  Exercises include the use of a vaginal cone, a device inserted
 into the vagina to help women identify the pelvic floor muscle.  There are
 also minimally invasive surgical remedies.
     "Unfortunately, people with bladder control problems wait too long to seek
 help, regardless of whether they are experiencing urge/frequency, stress or
 mixed incontinence," said Nancy Muller, executive director, National
 Association For Continence.  "We find that shame and embarrassment are the
 biggest barriers to treatment and many people continue to suffer in silence."
     The survey of Americans' bathroom habits was conducted for the National
 Association For Continence and sponsored by Pharmacia Corporation, marketers
 of DETROL(R) LA (tolterodine tartrate extended release capsules), a
 once-daily therapy for the treatment of overactive bladder with symptoms of
 urinary urge incontinence, urgency and frequency.
     The National Association For Continence is a not-for-profit organization
 dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with incontinence.  The
 NAFC's mission is to be the leading source of education, advocacy and support
 to the public and healthcare professionals regarding the causes, prevention,
 diagnosis, treatments and management alternatives for incontinence.
 
     CONTACT:  Lisa McIntyre of Golin-Harris International, 312-729-4149;
 Kim Kelly-Bishop of the National Association For Continence, 864-579-7900
 
 

SOURCE National Association for Continence
    SPARTANBURG, S.C., April 5 /PRNewswire/ -- In a new national survey on
 bathroom habits, Americans report spending an average of one hour in the
 bathroom each day -- almost two weeks each year.  And, most Americans admit
 that they immediately locate a bathroom when visiting a new location,
 especially those with a sudden urge to urinate.
     Results of the 1,001-person survey, conducted on behalf of the National
 Association For Continence (NAFC) in shopping malls nationwide, highlight
 bathroom behaviors of everyday Americans -- behaviors that left respondents
 divided.  For some, dependence on the bathroom may signal a potential medical
 problem, confining personal freedom, while for others, the bathroom provides
 comfort from life's stresses.
     So what's the attraction?  While many survey respondents admitted to using
 the bathroom for reading (53 percent), engaging in deep thought (47 percent),
 or talking on the phone (33 percent), many respondents indicated that a
 frequent urge to answer nature's call often prompts extra visits to the
 bathroom.
     Additional survey statistics allude to the shame and embarrassment
 Americans often associate with bathroom habits.
 
     -- One-third of respondents (33 percent) at least sometimes wait until no
        one else is in a public restroom to use the facilities, and one in five
        (21 percent) sometimes run the faucet while using the toilet to avoid
        being heard.
     -- Women are less inclined than men to use a unisex restroom while at
        work.  Only 38 percent of female respondents said they would feel
        comfortable using a unisex restroom at work.
     -- The majority of people -- 66 percent -- have never discussed urinary
        health with their doctor.  And, among those who suffer from urine
        leakage, less than half have actually discussed their urinary health
        concerns with their doctor.
 
     Signs of a Larger Problem
     The frequent urge to urinate often makes locating a bathroom a concern for
 many when visiting an unfamiliar location.  In fact, 62 percent of respondents
 indicated they scout out bathrooms when visiting an amusement park, and
 61 percent do the same at the movies.  While this "toilet mapping" behavior is
 not necessarily uncommon, it may signal a potential medical problem.  And,
 survey results may indicate a larger health issue for Americans aged
 50 or older, as respondents in this age range reported they were more likely
 than younger people to first locate the facilities at most new locations.  The
 apprehension about finding a restroom in public places may lead individuals
 with overactive bladder (OAB) to isolate themselves from social activities.
     "Altering daily activities to accommodate immediate access to a bathroom
 is behavior often consistent with the symptoms of overactive bladder -- a
 treatable medical condition in most instances," said Dr. Jenelle Foote,
 assistant professor of Urology, Emory University School of Medicine.  "As the
 survey results indicate, this problem is more widespread than people believe,
 impacting the lives of both young and old, women and men."
 
     Symptoms and Impact of Bladder Control Problems
     Overactive bladder is characterized by urinary frequency, urgency and
 "urinary urge incontinence" -- the involuntary loss of urine sufficient to be
 a problem.  Almost half -- 44 percent -- of survey respondents aged 60-70
 admitted to enduring some of these symptoms.  It is estimated from previous
 research that 17 million Americans suffer from this type of incontinence.
     There are several effective treatment options for OAB.  Drug therapy
 prevents erratic contractions of the muscles in the bladder, while behavioral
 techniques called pelvic muscle exercises (PMEs) and bladder training may help
 patients regain control over their bladder.  Eighty percent of those who seek
 treatment see a drastic improvement in their quality of life.  However, early
 recognition and treatment are key to preventing the need for more invasive
 measures later in life.
     Urine leakage induced by laughing, coughing or sneezing may indicate a
 different problem, known as "stress incontinence."  This condition is
 especially prevalent among women who have experienced vaginal childbirth.  The
 combination of urge and stress incontinence is referred to as "mixed
 incontinence."  Twenty-two percent of women respondents aged 30-70 admitted to
 frequently experiencing symptoms of mixed incontinence, versus only four
 percent of men.
     Pelvic muscle exercises are the best form of prevention for stress
 incontinence.  Exercises include the use of a vaginal cone, a device inserted
 into the vagina to help women identify the pelvic floor muscle.  There are
 also minimally invasive surgical remedies.
     "Unfortunately, people with bladder control problems wait too long to seek
 help, regardless of whether they are experiencing urge/frequency, stress or
 mixed incontinence," said Nancy Muller, executive director, National
 Association For Continence.  "We find that shame and embarrassment are the
 biggest barriers to treatment and many people continue to suffer in silence."
     The survey of Americans' bathroom habits was conducted for the National
 Association For Continence and sponsored by Pharmacia Corporation, marketers
 of DETROL(R) LA (tolterodine tartrate extended release capsules), a
 once-daily therapy for the treatment of overactive bladder with symptoms of
 urinary urge incontinence, urgency and frequency.
     The National Association For Continence is a not-for-profit organization
 dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with incontinence.  The
 NAFC's mission is to be the leading source of education, advocacy and support
 to the public and healthcare professionals regarding the causes, prevention,
 diagnosis, treatments and management alternatives for incontinence.
 
     CONTACT:  Lisa McIntyre of Golin-Harris International, 312-729-4149;
 Kim Kelly-Bishop of the National Association For Continence, 864-579-7900
 
 SOURCE  National Association for Continence