Expectations regarding eHealth among women with stress urinary incontinence.

Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is a common condition with a major impact on quality of life (QoL). Various factors prevent women from seeking help. However, eHealth (Internet-based therapy) with pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) is an effective and satisfying intervention for these women. We hypothesize that women with symptoms after regular therapy will profit from eHealth. This study explores the expectations regarding an eHealth intervention among women who still suffer from SUI despite treatment.

A qualitative study with semistructured interviews was conducted using a grounded theory approach. The study included women with SUI who had ever sought help for their condition.

Thirteen women were interviewed, most whom had experience with PFMT and still suffered from moderate-to-severe incontinence. Two themes emerged from data analysis: the need to meet, and eHealth as a tool to bridge obstacles. Women greatly emphasized that a healthcare professional, preferably one they know, should be available with eHealth. Several women indicated that the absence of personal contact caused lack of trust in success. However, several women were willing to use eHealth because its anonymity and flexibility could overcome obstacles in regular care.

eHealth based on PFMT is currently not a preferable treatment modality for women who still suffer from SUI despite treatment. eHealth cannot act as a substitute for their positive experience with personal contact. Some women are willing to use eHealth because of its advantages over regular care. Future experiences with eHealth might enable women with SUI to trust digital care.

International urogynecology journal. 2018 Dec 29 [Epub ahead of print]

Lotte Firet, Doreth Teunissen, Carmen Verhoeks, Antoine Lagro-Janssen

Department of Primary and Community Care, Radboud Institute for Health Sciences, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. ., Department of Primary and Community Care, Radboud Institute for Health Sciences, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

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