Help-seeking behaviour among women with urinary incontinence: a cross-sectional study in two gynaecology clinics Abstract

Po-Ming YU, Chun-Hung YU
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, United Christian Hospital, Hong Kong

Introduction: This study aimed to assess the help-seeking behaviour of women with urinary incontinence (UI) and their knowledge on UI and to identify the barriers to seeking medical care among women in two gynaecology clinics.
Methods: Women who attended the gynaecology clinics of United Christian Hospital and Tseung Kwan O Hospital between May 2019 and May 2020 were invited to complete a questionnaire. The Urogenital Distress Inventory Short Form (UDI-6) was used to determine the prevalence and type of UI. The Incontinence Impact Questionnaire Short Form (IIQ-7) was used to assess the impact of UI on the quality of life in terms of physical, psychological, and social domains.
Results: 639 women (mean age, 43.6±11.5 years) were included for analysis. Of the 639 participants, 424 (66.4%) had symptoms of UI. Of them, 214 (50.4%) had mixed UI, 160 (37.7%) had stress UI, and 50 (11.8%) had urge UI. 45.8% of women with symptoms of UI had impairment in quality of life. 55.7% of women with symptoms of UI had consulted a doctor. Older women (p=0.005), women with more severe UI (p<0.001), and those with more severe impairment in quality of life (p=0.002) were more likely to consult a doctor. Inadequate knowledge on the treatment options (adjusted OR=0.35, p=0.002) and perception of not being bothered by UI (adjusted OR=0.51, p=0.038) were independent predictors for barriers to help-seeking behaviour, whereas the fear of having a serious condition was an independent predictor for seeking medical help (adjusted OR=2.18, p=0.014).
Conclusion: There is a need to improve public education on treatment options and preventive strategies for UI to encourage symptomatic women to seek medical help. Clinicians should be more proactive in asking for symptoms of UI during consultation.
Hong Kong J Gynaecol Obstet Midwifery 2021; 21(2):80–85
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