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Why Do Only A Minority Of Perimenopausal Women With Urinary Incontinence Consult A Doctor?

J. Reymert, S. Hunskaar
Published 1994 · Medicine

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OBJECTIVE To investigate the reasons for not seeking treatment for urinary incontinence in perimenopausal women. DESIGN AND SUBJECTS Postal invitation to participate in a telephone interview to a randomly selected 10% sample (n = 78) of women 40 to 50 years old in Namsos municipality, Norway. OUTCOME MEASURES The interview guide included questions about symptoms of urinary incontinence, degree and type, past medical history, whether the women had consulted doctors or others for their illness and reasons for not consulting a doctor. RESULTS 68 (87%) returned the answer slip, 67 were interviewed. 39 (58%) stated that they had urinary incontinence. 32 thought incontinence was normal at their age, and 33 claimed to have no social or practical inconveniences. Only 9 had consulted a doctor, of whom three had been referred to a gynaecologist. Analyses revealed no statistically significant differences between the women who had or had not consulted a doctor with respect to severity, type of incontinence, duration, or self-assessed psychosocial impact. The most common reason for not consulting a doctor was that the incontinence problem was regarded too small. CONCLUSION More than half of the women said they had urinary incontinence. Fewer than a quarter of the 39 incontinent women had consulted a doctor. Simple quantitative measures concerning the woman and her illness do not seem fully to explain the mechanisms of non-consulting.
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