Experiences of women and men living with urinary incontinence: A phenomenological study

To explore and understand, from a gender-based perspective, the quality-of-life experiences of men and women who suffer from urinary incontinence.

Urinary incontinence (UI) is a major health problem with significant social, psychological, occupational, sexual and economic effects leading to a substantial decrease in quality of life. Although this condition is increasingly frequent in men, research has tended to focus on women, adopting a quantitative approach.

The data were examined using interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA).

The data were collected through a semi-structured interview conducted between January and June 2016. An inductive discourse content analysis was performed in three stages: preparation, organization and report. Participants were recruited until data saturation was achieved.

A sample of 33 participants was recruited: 17 women and 16 men. Gender-specific features were found. Six categories emerged: (i) normalization of incontinence; (ii) verbalization of the problem; (iii) social isolation; (iv)experienced feelings and emotions; (v) impact on daily routine; (vi) self-care strategies to address the problem in the most suitable way.

Urinary incontinence has a negative effect on the quality of life of men and women. However, there are gender differences as to how this phenomenon is experienced, particularly with regard to its psychological and social dimensions. A comprehensive, targeted assessment of the needs of these men and women is required on the part of professional nurses.

Applied nursing research : ANR. 2017 Dec 23 [Epub]

Almudena Ortuño Esparza, Miguel Ángel Cánovas Tomás, Florentina Pina-Roche

Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Murcia, Spain., Department of Nursing, Spain Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Murcia, Spain; Research Group of Urology, Morales Meseguer Hospital, Murcia, Spain. Electronic address: ., Researcher Group "Nursing Women and Care", University of Murcia, Spain.