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Fam Pract. 1995 Mar;12(1):18-21.

Female urinary incontinence--consultation behaviour and patient experiences: an epidemiological survey in a Norwegian community.

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Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care, University of Bergen, Norway.


The objective was to study explanatory factors for help-seeking among incontinent women, and what was the outcome of the treatment. A questionnaire was mailed to all 2366 women aged 20 or over in the rural community of Rissa, Norway. Women confirming incontinence gave information about duration, precipitating factors, frequency, amount of leakage, and impact. Questions about doctor consultation or planned consultation, treatment and results were included. Women with incontinence which had resolved without treatment were also recorded. A total of 77% answered the questionnaire. Twenty per cent of women with incontinence (n = 535) had consulted a doctor, 18% had planned to consult. Increasing age and duration, and urge/mixed type of incontinence were determinative factors for doctor consultation, while increasing severity and impact were determinative for planned consultation. Drugs, exercises, pads, and electrostimulation were all important treatment options: 21% were cured, 40% much better after treatment. Of all the women, 8% reported that they had been incontinent in the past, and only 18% of these had consulted a doctor.

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