International Urogynecology Journal

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 296–304 | Cite as

Reasons why women with long-term urinary incontinence do not seek professional help: a cross-sectional population-based cohort study

  • Doris HägglundEmail author
  • Marie-Louise Walker-Engström
  • Gregor Larsson
  • Jerzy Leppert
Original Article


The aims of this study were to investigate the reasons why some women with long-term urinary incontinence (UI) seek professional help whereas others do not, their experiences and satisfactions with the healthcare services, and how women deal with their incontinence. In total, 95 women aged 23–51 years with persistent UI (median 10 years, range 6–20 years) were included in this telephone interview survey. Seventy-four percent of the women with long-term UI had not sought help. The most common reason given was that the disorder was considered a minor problem, which they felt they could cope with on their own. When women did consult professional help they did so because they were afraid of the odor of urine and that they perceived the leakage as shameful and embarrassing. These women felt that the healthcare service offered appropriate care for their condition. Pelvic floor exercises were the most commonly used management methods for all participants.


Seeking help Urinary incontinence Women 



UI Urinary incontinence



The study was supported by a grant from the Västmanland County Research Foundation.


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Copyright information

© International Urogynecological Association 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Doris Hägglund
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Marie-Louise Walker-Engström
    • 3
  • Gregor Larsson
    • 4
  • Jerzy Leppert
    • 5
  1. 1.Centre for Clinical Research, Central HospitalUppsala UniversityVästerås
  2. 2.Department of Caring SciencesÖrebro UniversityÖrebroSweden
  3. 3.Centre for Clinical Research, Central HospitalUppsala UniversityVästeråsSweden
  4. 4.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyCentral HospitalVästeråsSweden
  5. 5.Centre for Clinical Research, Central HospitalUppsala UniversityVästeråsSweden

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