n CME : Your SA Journal of CPD - Assessment and management of urinary incontinence : main article

Volume 25, Issue 9
  • ISSN : 0256-2170



Urinary incontinence (UI) is an involuntary loss of urine that occurs when bladder pressure exceeds resistance to outflow. The International Continence Society defines it as 'urine loss, which is objectively demonstrable and is a social or hygienic problem'. It has all the characteristics of a typical 'geriatric syndrome' in that it is prevalent and costly, hidden, related to frailty, with multifactorial causation and a marked impact on quality of life (QoL). The mechanisms of continence are not all understood, but the effects of UI on health (e.g. development of skin irritation, contribution to pressure ulcers, nocturia leading to insomnia, falls (20 - 30%), psychological wellbeing (embarrassment, frustration, social isolation, depression) and costs involved (currently exceeding $20 billion per year in the USA) are well documented. A variety of effective treatments are known, but invariably underutilised.

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