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Urinary Incontinence

Sheila T. Fitzgerald, Mary H. Palmer, Susan J. Berry, Kristin Hart

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Until recently, the impact of urinary incontinence (UI) on working women, a population generally characterized as healthy, has not been the focus of research. Women employed full time at a large university center participated in a cross sectional survey about UI. Of the 1,113 women surveyed, age 18 and older, 21 % (n = 232) reported UI at least monthly. Incontinent women were significantly older and had a higher body mass index than continent women. Using disposable products, limiting fluids, avoiding caffeinated beverages, using voiding schedules, and keeping extra clothes or underwear were strategies used to manage UI at work. Responses to an open ended question related to the impact of UI on working life included: interference with sleep and resulting fatigue at work, embarrassment, alteration of concentration, and emotional distress. Implications for nurses are discussed in relation to assessment, education, and management of UI in the occupational setting.