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Br J Gen Pract. 2006 Dec;56(533):945-9.

Urinary incontinence in Moroccan and Turkish women: a qualitative study on impact and preferences for treatment.

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  • 1UMC St. Radboud, Women's Studies Medical Sciences, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.



To gain insight into the impact of urinary incontinence on the daily lives of Moroccan and Turkish women and their preferences for treatment.


A qualitative analysis of data from semi-structured in depth interviews with 30 Moroccan and Turkish migrant women with urinary incontinence.


Six general practices with large numbers of immigrant families in four cities in the Netherlands.


Semi-structured in depth interviews were conducted with Moroccan and Turkish migrant women, who presented with complaints of urinary incontinence in six general practices with large numbers of immigrant families on the practice list in four different cities in the Netherlands.


All the women adhered closely to bodily cleanliness and considered incontinence to be dirty. As Muslims, they were obliged to perform ritual prayers preceded by ablution five times per day and the urinary incontinence breached their status of ritual purity. Therefore, they had to wash more often and experienced this as a heavy burden. In a number of the women, shame formed a reason why they could not talk to anybody about the incontinence, not even with the doctor. One-third of the women felt that their GP had not taken them seriously. Knowledge about anatomy, physiology and available treatments was mostly lacking. In addition, the women did not understand the aim of the exercises from the physiotherapist. The majority of women gave preference to help from a female doctor.


Urinary incontinence in Moroccan and Turkish migrant women formed a considerable problem in their daily following of the Islam faith. Shame on the part of the patient and miscommunication at the doctor's surgery led to inadequate care.

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