Physician Attitudes Toward Urinary Incontinence Identification

Kelly Jirschele, Ruth Ross, Roger Goldberg, Sylvia Botros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Urinary incontinence (UI) is a prevalent condition. Urinary incontinence impacts health, quality of life, and financial resources. Most barriers research is evaluated from the patient perspective. Research from physician perspective is needed to determine how best to address UI barriers. Objective This study aimed to elucidate physician barriers to UI identification and treatment. Methods After institutional review board waiver, we surveyed 78 NorthShore University HealthSystem primary care physicians. The survey was designed to assess physician comfort, familiarity with UI, and current practice patterns. Results Fifty-five (71%) of the 78 physicians completed the survey. Most indicated that they clearly understood UI and that UI was a common problem in their practice. Fifty-six percent of the physicians were very comfortable inquiring about UI. Only 19% of the physicians were very comfortable diagnosing UI and 11% of the physicians were very comfortable treating UI. Fifty-nine percent of the physicians agreed that differentiating the different types of UI is difficult and 69% of the physicians believed that managing UI is difficult. However, only 26% of the physicians agreed that managing UI takes too much time. Overall, 65% of the physicians would like to diagnose and treat UI more in their practices. The most common barriers listed were (1) "not familiar with algorithm available for treatment," (2) "no good screening tool," and (3) "uncomfortable with diagnosis and treatment." Conclusions We initially thought that time would be the biggest barrier to care for UI, but we identified discomfort with diagnosis and treatment as barriers. The most common barrier was the lack of an accessible algorithm. Attention to physician education implementation of a screening tool algorithm for treatment of UI could improve UI identification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-276
Number of pages4
JournalFemale Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 9 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • identification
  • primary care physician practice patterns
  • urinary incontinence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Urology


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