Women’s waterworks: evaluating an early intervention for incontinence among adult women
Christina Lee, Claire Johnson, Pauline Chiarelli
Seventy six Australian women aged 27 to 72, with minimal to mild symptoms of incontinence as assessed by the Incontinence Severity Index (ISI), were recruited through general medical practices and randomly assigned on a 2:1 basis to intervention or waitlist control. The intervention, conducted by nurse continence advisors, included physical assessment, pelvic floor muscle training, and bladder training offered on three individual visits at Weeks 1, 9 and 16. The main outcome measures were pelvic floor muscle strength, endurance and contractility, self-reported incontinence severity, self-recorded bladder function, and participant evaluation of the programme. There were statistically significant improvements in all measures, and the women’s evaluations of the programme were overwhelmingly positive. From these results, it is concluded that an early intervention programme for urinary incontinence is effective among women who choose to attend. However, it appears that there are barriers to women seeking help and it was shown that public health interventions are needed to de-stigmatise and prevent the condition.