Reflective accounts

Overactive bladder

A CPD article improved Rose Gallacher’s knowledge of the symptoms and treatment of overactive bladder in women 

A CPD article improved Rose Gallacher’s knowledge of the symptoms and treatment of overactive bladder in women 


Image: SPL

What was the nature of the CPD activity, practice-related feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

The article described the symptoms and management of overactive bladder, as well as the potential effects on the lives of women with the condition.

What did you learn from the CPD activity, feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

The article stated that overactive bladder is a common chronic condition that affects the storage of urine in the bladder and its excretion. Symptoms include urinary urgency, urinary frequency, nocturia and urge incontinence. I have learned that overactive bladder mainly affects women over 40 years old, but may also affect men, children and young adults.

The condition can be distressing and socially disruptive. People may feel embarrassed and socially isolated, and as a result they might be unwilling to seek advice and support.

There are financial costs associated with overactive bladder, such as in purchasing incontinence pads and washing soiled clothing. I was interested to read that continence care is often considered a low priority in healthcare.

The article discussed the management strategies available for overactive bladder, such as lifestyle change, pelvic floor muscle training, bladder retraining and biofeedback. Lifestyle changes recommended included reduced intake of caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, citrus fruits, carbonated drinks and artificial sweeteners. Weight management and smoking cessation were also suggested. The article discussed the use of pharmacological treatments to reduce symptoms by inhibiting bladder contractions; however, many patients experience adverse affects associated with these medicines.

Where these management strategies are unsuccessful, I have learned that patients should be referred for secondary care treatments, such as intravesical botulinum toxin therapy, acupuncture and sacral neuromodulation.

How did you change or improve your practice?

After reading the article, I am aware that although overactive bladder is not life-threatening, it can compromise patients’ quality of life, ability to work and social relationships. It is essential individuals feel able to access healthcare services without fear of stigma, and that continence care is prioritised.

The article emphasised the importance of providing patient education on possible lifestyle changes.

There are many ways that healthcare services might disseminate information about management strategies. I intend to seek further continence care education and training to improve my practice. I will also read about evidence-based continence care pathways.

How is this relevant to the Code? Select one or more themes: Prioritise people, Practise effectively, Preserve safety, Promote professionalism and trust

One of the themes of The Code is to prioritise people, which states that nurses must make sure people’s needs are assessed, recognised and responded to. As stated in the article, overactive bladder is a symptom diagnosis; therefore, it is essential for nurses to recognise symptoms and provide information about management strategies.  

The Code also states that people must be treated with respect, and their dignity be preserved. The article emphasised the importance of establishing a non-judgemental, open and honest environment, where patients feel able to seek advice without stigma.

Rose Gallacher is a staff nurse at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley


This reflective account is based on NS867 Jenks JC (2016) Overactive bladder in women. Nursing Standard. 31, 9, 52-62. These questions are the same as those on the NMC templates that UK nurses and midwives must use for revalidation

Write your own reflective account 

You can gain a certificate of learning by reading a Nursing Standard CPD article and writing a reflective account. To write a reflective account for Nursing Standard, use the NMC reflective accounts form 

Complete the four questions about the CPD article you have just read, writing about 800 words in total. How to submit your reflective account 

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