Urinary incontinence, the hidden health problem of Cretan women: report from a primary care survey in Greece

Women Health. 2000;31(4):59-66. doi: 10.1300/j013v31n04_04.


Objective: The prevalence of urine leakage and care-seeking rates of women 35-75 years of age who visited GPs in two rural areas of Crete were investigated.

Participants: All the women who visited their family physician in two primary care units during the period of August to November 1997 (N = 251) were asked if they had experienced symptoms of involuntary urine leakage. A set of questions was addressed to the women who replied positively.

Results: Sixty-nine of the 251 women (27.5%) reported symptoms of involuntary urine leakage, and among the incontinent women 11 (15.9%) had previously contacted the health services about their problem. Only six out of thirty (20%) of the incontinent women who report effects on household activities, social and sexual life had contacted a physician about urinary incontinence (UI). The most common reason reported for not consulting the physicians was that the symptoms were not considered serious (35 women out of 58, 60.3%).

Conclusion: This study points out the need for further awareness programs for both women and healthcare professionals to be set up in countries like Greece, in which a low care-seeking rate of incontinent women has been reported.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Community Health Centers / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Greece / epidemiology
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Rural Population
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Incontinence / epidemiology*
  • Urinary Incontinence / psychology
  • Women's Health