It is estimated that urinary incontinence can effect up to 23% of the population at some time during their adult years, with 9% currently experiencing symptoms. This study found that the majority of sufferers had spoken to or had contacted their GP about their incontinence, and that people currently suffering from incontinence were significantly more likely to have seen their GP within the last month than those who were continent. Help seeking behaviour was also influenced by the severity of incontinence, with people suffering from severe incontinence significantly more likely to have sought help than those with light to moderate incontinence. Two thirds of sufferers who did not seek help were too embarrassed to do so. Significantly more people who were incontinent that did not seek help in a health authority without an established continence service did not know that health services were available, compared with those in a health authority having an established continence service. It is important for health care providers to ensure that the public knows what services are on offer and how to access them. Significantly more incontinence sufferers in the health authority with an established continence service chose not to seek help from a health professional compared with those in the health authority without service, which could indicate there was an element of informed choice in not accessing the services available. Significantly more people who were incontinent than continent required help with their activities of daily living and personal self care. They were also significantly more likely than those who were continent to require formal and informal contacts provided by health services, local authority, the church or voluntary sector. It is important that people suffering from incontinence have their health and social needs assessed so that services can be effectively targeted.
Roe, B., Doll, H., & Wilson, K. (1999). Help seeking behaviour and health and social services utilisation by people suffering from urinary incontinence. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 36(3), 245-253. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0020-7489(99)00020-6