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Eur Urol. 1997;32 Suppl 2:25-7.

Assessing the impact of urinary incontinence in a female population.

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Department of Urology and Andrology, University Hospital, Nîmes, France.


Urinary incontinence (UI) is a symptom. Patients seeking medical attention do so because of this symptom. As individuals' views of bothersomeness vary significantly, the objective degree of symptom severity is less important than the patient's overall outlook. Assessing well-being can be done by symptom evaluation, and general or condition-specific health-related quality of life questionnaire (HRQOL). Several studies using HRQOL questionnaires documented the negative effects of UI on the patient's well-being, especially on daily activities and psychological distress. Generalised HRQOL instruments can be used but they may lack sensitivity to the characteristics of incontinence and its impact. Recently condition-specific UI questionnaires have been developed for a better assessment of specific issues and a greater sensitivity to changes after treatments. They reveal a substantial impact on everyday life, but a poor correlation was observed between the objective and subjective measurements. More useful short-form versions have recently been developed that meet many of the needs of therapists.

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