Predictors and reasons for help-seeking behavior among women with urinary incontinence

Louise Schreiber Pedersen*, Gunnar Lose, Mette Terp Høybye, Martina Jürgensen, Annika Waldmann, Martin Rudnicki

*Corresponding author for this work


Introduction and hypothesis: The aim of the study was to evaluate the predictors and reasons for help-seeking behavior among women with urinary incontinence (UI) in Germany and Denmark. Methods: This international postal survey was conducted in 2014. In each country, 4,000 women of at least 18 years of age were randomly selected. The questionnaires included validated items regarding help-seeking behavior and the ICIQ-UI SF. UI was defined as any involuntary loss of urine. Binary logistic regression analysis was used to assess factors predicting help-seeking behavior. Reasons for seeking or not seeking help were evaluated in terms of the severity of UI and as the most frequently reported. Results: Of 1,063 Danish women with UI, 25.3% had consulted a physician compared with 31.4% of 786 German women with UI (p = 0.004). The severity and duration of UI, and actively seeking information regarding UI, were significant independent predictors of help-seeking behavior. Women with slight/moderate UI did not seek help because they did not consider UI as a problem, whereas of women with severe/very severe UI, German women reported that other illnesses were more important and Danish women reported that they did not have enough resources to consult a physician. Conclusions: Only a small proportion of women with UI had consulted a physician, and the driving forces for help-seeking behavior were severity and duration of UI and actively seeking information regarding UI. Public information campaigns might enhance consultation rates providing that passively receiving and actively seeking information have the same effects on help-seeking behavior. We show for the first time that reasons for not consulting a physician for UI vary depending on the severity of the UI.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Urogynecology Journal
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 05.08.2017

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Center for Population Medicine and Public Health (ZBV)


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