Posted on Apr 7, 2015 2:00:00 PM by Leslie Wooldridge, GNP-BC, CUNP, BCIA-PMD

Older OAB Patients and the "New Normal"

Changes in Bladder Control are Normal for Older Patients

It's all goodAs a community service, we often do bladder screenings at our clinic. We do planned screenings during ICS World Continence Week in June and NAFC Continence Awareness week in November. We use a simple form (originally put out by Pfizer) that is a 6-question document that offers a variance of answers. We check urine to make sure there are no abnormalities and then counsel the participant on their answers. Some will benefit from our services, others will benefit from simple life changes.

What's Normal?

It never ceases to amaze me how many of my elderly folks think voiding 3 times a day is normal for them. When I ask what they mean when they say they are going “all the time,” their answers produce a whopping 6-7 times a day that they void. They also complain about getting up once at night. Most often that one time is 5 a.m. after going to bed at 9 pm.  

Teaching our patients what is now the “new normal" for them as they age can be an eye opener. But, are we all schooled in what the normal aging changes are that affect our bladders? I learned a very important lesson from Dr. Joseph Ouslander, one of my mentors in urology and long-term care almost 20 years ago. Know what is going on inside that patient. As we age, our bladders hold less urine, there are more uninhibited contractions, bladder flow/ force of bladder contractions is less and the kidneys manufacture more urine at night. Good info!

When Treatment and Medication are Unnecessary

As I grew in my practice, I learned this to be very important information for the field I had grown to love. The aging bladder is my first item of discussion with the older patients. They are amazed at the “normal” changes. Not that anyone likes them, but it is reality. Simple behavioral changes may make all the difference in the world. Our successes become greater and our patients happier. The people experiencing these sort of “symptoms” that we assess through our bladder screenings are very happy that they don’t have to take medication, go through surgery or endure long treatment regimens.  

Be smart, be honest and know the normal life cycle of bladder changes before you embark on costly and unnecessary treatments for OAB.   

Urgent PC for OAB

This blog post reflects the opinions and experience of Leslie Wooldridge, a long-standing user of the Urgent PC Neuromodulation System, and was produced under a paid consulting agreement with Cogentix Medical.

Urgent PC is indicated for the treatment of Overactive Bladder and associated symptoms of urinary urgency, urinary frequency and urge incontinence. Treatment with Urgent PC is contraindicated for patients with pacemakers or implantable defibrillators, patients prone to excessive bleeding, patients with nerve damage that could impact either percutaneous tibial nerve or pelvic floor function or patients who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant during the duration of the treatment. Most patients don't experience side-effects. If side-effects occur, they are typically temporary and include mild pain and skin inflammation at or near the stimulation site. Caution: Federal law (USA) restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a physician. For complete instructions for use, storage, warnings, indications, contraindications, precautions, adverse reactions and disclaimer of warranties, please refer to the insert accompanying each product or online at Models are for illustrative purposes only. Urgent is a registered trademark of Cogentix Medical © 2015 Cogentix Medical. All rights reserved. 

Leslie Wooldridge, GNP-BC, CUNP, BCIA-PMD
Leslie Saltzstein Wooldridge, GNP-BC, CUNP, BCIA-PMD, is Director of the Adult Bladder Control Center, Mercy Health Partners, Muskegon, Michigan USA. Ms. Wooldridge received a Master of Science degree in nursing administration, critical care nursing and postgraduate certification as a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner from Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 2015, she was honored with the Women’s Health Foundation Activist Award. She is also the recipient of the 2009 National Association for Continence Rodney J. Appell Continence Champion Award. Ms. Wooldridge has published in multiple refereed journals. She authored the Genitourinary chapter in The Nurse Practitioner in Long Term Care: Guidelines for Clinical Practice (2007). She has lectured throughout the United States on geriatrics, urology and clinical practice.
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