High prevalence of urinary incontinence and poor knowledge of pelvic floor exercises among women in Ladysmith

  • JP Madombwe
  • S Knight


Introduction. The purpose of the study was to determine the prevalence of urinary incontinence in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, the health-seeking behaviour of affected women, and women’s knowledge of pelvic floor exercises. Methods. Between September 2005 and November 2005, a questionnaire was administered to 99 women aged 21 - 76 years. Results. We found that 35.4% (95% confidence interval (CI) 25.9 - 44.8%) of the sample had urinary incontinence. The most common type of incontinence was stress urinary incontinence, reported by 62.9% (95% CI 46.5 - 79.2%). Of the 99 women, 32.3% (95% CI 23.1 - 41.5%) had heard of pelvic floor muscle exercises and 18.2% (95% CI 10.6 - 25.8%) had actually done them. Of the 35 women with urinary incontinence 25.7% had sought professional help, most commonly because of a worsening in condition. Conclusion. Although the prevalence of urinary incontinence in Ladysmith is high, knowledge about the condition and its management among both women and health service providers is poor.

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eISSN: 2305-8862
print ISSN: 0038-2329