Environmental cues to urgency and leakage episodes in patients with overactive bladder syndrome: A pilot study

Elizabeth Victor, Kathleen A. O'Connell, Jerry G. Blaivas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Purpose: To assess the frequency with which environmental cues, which might constitute Pavlovian-conditioned stimuli, occur with urgency and leakage symptoms associated with overactive bladder syndrome (OAB). Subjects and Settings: The sample group comprised 17 adults (13 women and 4 men); their median age was 74.71 years. Methods: A semistructured interview was conducted with a convenience sample of 17 patients diagnosed with OAB. Patients were interviewed about interoceptive and environmental cues they related to instances of urinary urgency and leakage. Interviews persisted for 6.11 to 59.38 minutes (M = 21.86 minutes) and were conducted by an interviewer who was trained to administer the interview guide. Results: Most respondents associated at least 1 environmental cue with urgency and leakage, respectively. A mean of 6.1 urgency-related and 4.0 leak-related environmental cues were reported. The most commonly reported environmental cues were "on my way to the bathroom" reported by 88% and "opening the front door of my home" reported by 71%. Conclusion: These findings support the hypothesis that Pavlovian conditioning plays a role in OAB symptoms and suggest that treatment might be enhanced by inclusion of Pavlovian extinction procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-186
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medical–Surgical
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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