Feature Article

Female urinary incontinence: effective management in primary care

Marcus Carey
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Urinary incontinence is a common condition in women that can cause significant distress. Conservative treatment and medications delivered in primary care are often very effective. Specialist referral is appropriate for patients who do not respond to initial management and for those with more complex presentations.

Key Points

  • Female urinary incontinence is a common and distressing problem.
  • Overactive bladder and stress urinary incontinence are the two common types of urinary incontinence in women.
  • Most women with urinary incontinence can be managed effectively in primary care.
  • Women with refractory incontinence and those with more complex presentations and associated problems should be referred for specialist management.
  • Conservative management of overactive bladder involves pelvic floor muscle training, bladder retraining and fluid management.
  • Antimuscarinic medication is the mainstay of drug therapy for overactive bladder.
  • Stress urinary incontinence should be treated initially with pelvic floor muscle training.

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