International Urogynecology Journal

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 166–170

The Ethnic Cultural and Social Aspects of Incontinence – A Pilot Study

  • C. Chaliha
  • S. L. Stanton
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s001920050039

Cite this article as:
Chaliha, C. & Stanton, S. Int Urogynecol J (1999) 10: 166. doi:10.1007/s001920050039


This cross-sectional study aimed to study the religious and cultural practices of ethnic minorities that might affect the experience and ideas that sufferers of incontinence have. Subjects were multiparous women from the local community who suffered from incontinence. Structured and unstructured interviews were conducted to assess the effect of incontinence and menstruation on home life, sexual life, personal and communal prayer, rules and customs associated with menstruation, and the ability to discuss problems with their doctor and partners. Individual women differed in how they rated their daily activities, and this was not related to religious or ethnicity. Higher restrictions on activity were perceived for fecal than for urinary incontinence. Sexual relationships were restricted for Jewish and Muslim women during menses. Incontinence led to religious restriction, which was most marked for Jewish and Muslim women, and this was related to the need for cleanliness for prayer. Less then 50% of patients sought help, and this was not related to duration and severity of symptoms. Only Muslim women had a strong preference for female doctors, and this was for cultural reasons.

Key words:Ethnicity – Incontinence – Religion 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Chaliha
    • 1
  • S. L. Stanton
    • 1
  1. 1.St George’s Hospital, London, UKGB

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