Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) affects 10%-39% of women. Its first-line treatment consists of lifestyle interventions and pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT), which can be performed supervised or unsupervised. Health apps are increasing in number and can be used to improve adherence to treatments. We developed the Tät app, which provides a 3-month treatment program with a focus on PFMT for women with SUI. The app treatment was evaluated in a randomized controlled trial, which demonstrated efficacy for improving incontinence symptoms and quality of life. In this qualitative interview study, we investigated participant experiences of the app-based treatment.
This study aimed to explore women's experiences of using an app-based treatment program for SUI.
This qualitative study is based on telephone interviews with 15 selected women, with a mean age of 47 years, who had used the app in the previous randomized controlled trial. A semistructured interview guide with open-ended questions was used, and the interviews were transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed according to the grounded theory.
The results were grouped into three categories: "Something new!" "Keeping motivation up!" and "Good enough?" A core category, "Enabling my independence," was identified. The participants appreciated having a new and modern way to access a treatment program for SUI. The use of new technology seemed to make incontinence treatment feel more prioritized and less embarrassing for the subjects. The closeness to their mobile phone and app features like reminders and visual graphs helped support and motivate the women to carry through the PFMT. The participants felt confident that they could perform the treatment program on their own, even though they expressed some uncertainty about whether they were doing the pelvic floor muscle contractions correctly. They felt that the app-based treatment increased their self-confidence and enabled them to take responsibility for their treatment.
Use of the app-based treatment program for SUI empowered the women in this study and helped them self-manage their incontinence treatment. They appreciated the app as a new tool for supporting their motivation to carry through a slightly challenging PFMT program.
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01848938; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01848938 (Archived by WebCite at https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01848938).
Journal of medical Internet research. 2019 Mar 14*** epublish ***
Ina Asklund, Eva Samuelsson, Katarina Hamberg, Göran Umefjord, Malin Sjöström
Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.