Urinary incontinence guidance to end silent suffering

NICE has issued guidelines to improve the care and treatment of women with urinary incontinence (UI) and alleviate ‘suffering from a hidden and distressing condition.'

Urinary incontinence
Urinary incontinence
The recommendations advise on the diagnosis of UI, effective treatments for women with this condition, as well as expected competencies of surgeons performing procedures.

UI affects approximately five million women in England and Wales aged over 20, yet NICE say that this subject remains taboo and many women are too embarrassed to discuss it with their GP.

NICE highlights that identification of the type of UI is vital and recommends that a full history is taken to aid diagnosis.

Simple treatment options are outlined, such as losing weight, if the patient is overweight, and asking the patient to monitor how much they drink. Specific programmes of pelvic floor muscle training and bladder training are also included, and tailored to the type of UI.

Paul Hilton, Consultant Gynaecologist and Chair of the Guideline Development Group, said: ‘Incontinence is one of the last taboo subjects in healthcare, which patients have often been reluctant to discuss, and the medical profession slow to address. I am therefore delighted to see the publication of this guideline on managing urinary incontinence in women by NICE. The guideline sets standards for all health care professionals on the best ways of assessing and treating the condition, and should help to limit variations in standards and access to care.

‘I see perhaps 1500 women per year with urinary incontinence, and many are concerned that nothing can be done to help them. This guideline clearly sets out what the treatment options are for the main types of urinary incontinence, so that women can have an informed discussion with their health professional about their condition.’

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