Original articles

High Prevalence of urinary incontinence and poor knowledge of pelvic floor exercises among women in Ladysmith.

Jacqueline Pfungwa Madombwe, Stephen Knight


Introduction: The purpose of the study was to determine the prevalence and health seeking behaviour of women with urinary incontinence and their knowledge of pelvic floor exercises, in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal.

Methods: Between September 2005 and November 2005, a questionnaire was administered to 99 women aged 21 – 76 years.

Results: The study found that 35.4% (95% CI, 25.9 – 44.8) of the sample had urinary incontinence. The most common type of incontinence was stress urinary incontinence, 62.9% (95% CI, 46.5 – 79.2). Of the 99 women, 32.3% (95% CI, 23.1 – 41.5) had heard of pelvic floor muscle exercises, while 18.2% (95% CI, 10.6 – 25.8) had actually done them. Of the the 35 women with urinary incontinence, 25.7% had sought professional help, the most common reason for seeking help being a worsening in condition.

Conclusion: Although the prevalence of urinary incontinence in Ladysmith is high, knowledge of urinary incontinence as a disease and its management, among both women and health service providers is poor.

Authors' affiliations

Jacqueline Pfungwa Madombwe, Public Health Practitioner

Stephen Knight, Family and Public Health Medicine

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Urinary Incontinence; stress urinary incontinence; urge urinary incontinence; mixed urinary incontinence; prevalence; pelvic floor muscle exercises

Cite this article

South African Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 2010;16(1):18.

Article History

Date submitted: 2007-07-26
Date published: 2010-02-18

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