Normal Bladder Sensations in Healthy Volunteers: A Focus Group Investigation

Rhea Heeringa, Stefan G. G. de Wachter*, Philip E. V. A. Van Kerrebroeck, Gommert A. van Koeveringe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aims: To describe the bladder sensations experienced during non-invasive rapid bladder filling in a controlled setting in healthy volunteers. Methods: Three groups of healthy volunteers, total 11 subjects(4 men, 7 women), participated in three consecutive focus group sessions. Before each session a strict water loading protocol was given. The first two sessions focused on how participants described and experienced bladder sensations in daily life and during a physiological bladder filling with constant focus on their bladder. The third session focused on verifying the interpretation of the data gathered so far and describing the pattern of sensations. Results: During the focus group sessions with constant focus on their bladder, all participants experienced their bladder sensation as a continuous progression. Healthy subjects describe their bladder sensation(s) as a "pressure" and a "tingling" sensation, but a terminology ranging from no sensations to an absolute need to void is used by all participants and better describes the pattern in which the need to void develops in healthy volunteers. Conclusions: By means of focus group research it is possible to describe the development of normal bladder sensation and to refine terminology used by healthy participants. The findings show that two types of bladder sensations are reported spontaneously by healthy uninitiated volunteers, pressure and a tingling sensation, of which the first develops in a continuous manner. The pattern in which the absolute need develops is described by the terms: no sensation, weak awareness, stronger awareness, weak need, stronger need and absolute need to void. Neurourol. Urodynam. 30:1350-1355, 2011.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1350-1355
JournalNeurourology and Urodynamics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • focus groups
  • sensations
  • terminology
  • urinary bladder


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