Help-seeking behaviour and associated factors among women with urinary incontinence in France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom

Eur Urol. 2005 Mar;47(3):385-92; discussion 392. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2004.09.014. Epub 2004 Nov 21.


Objectives: To assess the proportion of women who consult their doctor about urinary incontinence (UI), and explore factors associated with help-seeking in France, Germany, Spain and the UK.

Methods: A representative sample of 29,500 women received a 13 item postal questionnaire to identify those with UI. A randomly selected sub-sample of 2953 women with UI received a more detailed follow-up questionnaire.

Results: There was a response rate of 58% in the initial survey and 53% in the second. Thirty-one percent of all women had consulted a doctor about their UI symptoms with more women consulting in France and Germany than in the UK and Spain. A number of factors relating to general health care, UI and women's attitudes were found to be associated with help-seeking after adjusting for women's age, UI duration and frequency, and 'bothersomeness' of UI; factors traditionally associated with help-seeking. After adjusting for these factors, willingness to take long-term medication and having spoken to others about UI were found to be strong predictors of help-seeking in all four countries.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • France / epidemiology
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Incontinence Pads / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Urinary Incontinence / epidemiology*
  • Urinary Incontinence / therapy*