Urinary incontinence failure
Only a third of women with stress urinary incontinence are receiving recommended treatment, a new audit reveals.
The researchers identified a 'substantial unmet need' and warned many women could be relying on self-management techniques that actually exacerbated the problem.
They urged GPs to advise pelvic floor exercises more often and consider patients for referral to continence specialists.
The research, published in the April issue of BJU International, assessed 9,340 women in Leicestershire by questionnaire. Some 7.7 per cent reported stress urinary incontinence, but only 15 per cent of these had sought help, mostly from their GP.
Just 35 per cent of those who had sought medical attention were taking recommended pelvic floor exercises or had been referred to secondary care.
Study leader Dr Christine Shaw, senior research fellow at the University of Wales College of Medicine in Cardiff, said: 'It's not given a high level of priority. It's not life threatening but it does have a big impact on patients' quality of life.
'It can make the difference between living independently and being institutionalised.'