• effect of treatment;
  • female urinary incontinence;
  • nocturia;
  • well-being;
  • wish fortreatment

Background. The aim was to study urinary incontinence (UI) and nocturia in a female population: prevalence, effect on well-being, wish for treatment and result of treatment in primary health care.

Methods. A postal questionnaire was sent to all women aged 20-59 years who were scheduled for gynecological health examination by midwives in a primary health care district during one year. Questions concerning well-being were based on the Gothenburg QOL instrument. All women with incontinence were offered treatment by a midwife and a family doctor. Results. Of the included 641 women. 491 (77%) answered the questionnaire. The prevalence of urinary incontinence was 27.7%, 3.5% having daily leakage. Nocturia occurred in 32 women (6.5%). 12 of whom were also incontinent. Self-assessed health, sleep, fitness and satisfaction with work situation decreased significantly with increased frequency of incontinence. Well-being was not correlated to type of incontinence. Nocturia correlated to poor health and sleep. About a quarter of the incontinent women started treatment when offered and 80% of those who completed the treatment program were subjectively improved. Wish for treatment was directly correlated to frequency of incontinence but not to type. Conclusions. Urinary incontinence and nocturia affect well-being in a negative way. Well-being and wish for treatment correlate to frequency of incontinence but not to type of incontinence. Most women with UI accept it; only about a quarter of incontinent women, or 6-7% of all women in the studied age group, want treatment. Treatment of female urinary incontinence in primary health care is successful.