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Fam Pract. 2007 Dec;24(6):585-93. Epub 2007 Oct 25.

Culturally sensitive continence care: a qualitative study among South Asian Indian women in Leicester.

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Urogynaecology Department, Women's, Perinatal and Sexual Health Directorate, Leicester General Hospital, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Gwendolen Road, Leicester LE5 4PW, UK.



Urinary incontinence is a significant health problem with potentially serious physical, psychological and social consequences. The true prevalence is difficult to ascertain, especially in hard to reach groups such as ethnic minority populations and research in this area is lacking. The UK has an increasingly diverse population, and ascertaining the needs for incontinence care among ethnic minority groups is crucial.


This study aimed to explore views and experiences of incontinence and perceptions of care among South Asian Indian women in Leicester, UK.


A qualitative focus group study involving four focus groups, each of six women, was undertaken. Focus groups were conducted in the participants' chosen language and facilitated by a bilingual moderator. Groups were tape-recorded, transcribed and analysed in a systematic and iterative way based on the constant comparative method.


Women commonly normalized symptoms of urinary incontinence, attributing them to the ageing process or consequences of childbirth. Help-seeking behaviour was hindered not only by feelings of embarrassment in discussing sensitive problems, especially with male health professionals, but also the perceived embarrassment felt by doctors. Women reported a lack of available information in culturally sensitive media. Talk-based media were more highly valued than text-based media. Generational differences in help-seeking behaviour were apparent.


This exploratory study provides valuable understanding of the continence needs of South Asian Indian women. Common needs were identified, as were important generational differences. Suggestions offered by women for the existing service improvement seemed relatively modest in terms of resources required.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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