University of Limerick
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Why Irish women delay seeking treatment for urinary incontinence : a focus group study

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posted on 2011-10-27, 11:39 authored by Mairéad Ní Aileasa
Background: Urinary Incontinence is defined as "any involuntary leakage of urine" (Abrams et al, 2002). Living with incontinence can effect one's life greatly. Many women delay seeking treatment and often do not seek any help (Dolan et al, 1999), despite physiotherapy being an effective treatment (Neumann et al, 2005). Therefore, there is a need to discover why women delay seeking help, such as physiotherapy and continue to live with incontinence. Objectives: To establish reasons why Irish women delay seeking help for incontinence, by exploring the experiences of women living with incontinence and to discover their knowledge regarding available treatment. Methods: Qualitative focus group methodology with the group of interest – women with incontinence symptoms. Following HSE approval, under the Clinical Research Ethics Committee of the Cork Teaching Hospitals, a pilot group and two focus groups were conducted. The discussions were digitally-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Subthemes and themes were identified using thematic analysis. Results: Different explanations were established signifying why women delay seeking treatment including a lack of awareness regarding condition prevalence and available treatments. Participants expressed a difficulty approaching treatment resources and instead developed coping strategies, to live with incontinence and avoid seeking help. Furthermore, the emotional effects of living with incontinence contributed to a delay seeking help. Women are faced with various barriers when seeking treatment. This confirms the necessity to help ease associated emotional discomfort and develop accessible treatment routes, through the development of strategies to raise awareness of incontinence and available treatment.




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