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Overactive Bladder and Mental Health Symptoms in Recently Deployed Women Veterans

Bradley CS, Nygaard J, Torner J, Hillis SL, Johnson SR. Overactive Bladder and Mental Health Symptoms in Recently Deployed Women Veterans. Poster session presented at: American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Annual Conference; 2013 May 7; New Orleans, LA.


Introduction Twelve percent of recently-deployed veterans are women and most are of reproductive age. Our objectives were to estimate the prevalence of current overactive bladder (OAB) symptoms in recently-deployed women veterans, and to determine if OAB symptoms were associated with common military/post-deployment risks, including mental health (MH) symptoms and prior sexual assault. Methods Cross-sectional data were analyzed from a nationwide study of urogenital symptoms in women veterans. Women returning from Iraq or Afghanistan deployment in the prior two years and ending military service were eligible. Contact information was obtained from military databases. Telephone interview data included validated urinary and MH instruments. OAB was identified if at least moderately bothersome symptoms (frequency and/or urgency urinary incontinence) were present. Associations between OAB and depression, PTSD, anxiety and sexual assault were assessed in separate logistic regression models using propensity scores to adjust for confounding. Results The 1702 participants had mean(SD) age of 31.1(8.4) yrs and were racially/ethnically diverse (59% white, 21% black, 11% Hispanic, 5% Asian). 52% were nulliparous. 375(22%) reported OAB. MH-related outcomes included depression (10%), PTSD(19%), anxiety (21%) and prior sexual assault(27%); all increased the odds of OAB (adjOR (95%CI) = 3.3 (2.1, 5.1), 2.7 (2.0, 3.6), 2.3 (1.4, 3.7)) and 1.4 (1.1, 1.8) respectively). Conclusions OAB symptoms occur in 1 in 5 recently-deployed women veterans and are associated with military/deployment-related risks, including PTSD and prior sexual assault. Screening and evaluation for bothersome urinary symptoms and MH problems in women veterans presenting for primary and gynecologic care after deployment appears warranted

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