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Coping strategies for women with urinary incontinence.

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  • 1King's College Hospital, Denmark Hill, London, UK.


Incontinence is a common and complex condition affecting women of all ages, social and cultural backgrounds. 'Coping strategies' play an important role for managing incontinence and include changes in lifestyle, protection, aids, and catheters, whether they are indwelling or intermittent. By the time women seek medical advice for urinary incontinence they have usually tried various tactics to either limit the leakage or protect themselves from it. The most common tactics to limit leakage include fluid restriction, regular toileting, exercises and weight reduction. With medical advice, women can change concomitant medication that may be exacerbating the problem. Aids for mobilization can also have a dramatic effect on the ability to cope with urinary problems. Pads used for protection are often unsuitable and some even wear 'home-made' pads in the form of rolled up tissue, commonly to save money. Many different types of pads are available although women are often ignorant as to what is best for them. Catheters should only be used for intractable incontinence and following appropriate investigation. When possible intermittent catheterization should be considered. It is essential that all women are assessed and investigated before any form of containment becomes long-term management.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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