Assessment, diagnosis and treatment of urinary incontinence in women

This article gives an overview of female urinary incontinence including the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of stress urinary incontinence and overactive bladder syndrome. It summarises recent guidelines, the role of the nurse in conservative management and when a referral for specialist care is required.

It aims to encourage nurses to use all opportunities to identify women who have urinary incontinence then to assess and treat urinary incontinence effectively. All patients should receive a full continence assessment. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines recommend conservative treatments including lifestyle advice, pelvic floor exercises and bladder retraining. Nurses may need to access training from their local specialist continence nurse service to enable them to provide evidence-based care. This article concludes that equitable, integrated continence services are essential to improve the quality of care for people with continence problems.

British journal of nursing (Mark Allen Publishing). 0000 [Epub]

Zoe Ostle

Specialist Nurse, Bladder and Bowel Service, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust.

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