4th October 2019, Volume 132 Number 1503

Kenley LJ Kuoch, Geoffrey S Hebbard, Helen E O’Connell, David W Austin, Simon R Knowles

Urinary incontinence (UI) is defined by The International Continence Society as “the complaint of any involuntary loss of urine”.1 The prevalence of UI has been suggested to be around 3.0%…

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Summary

Urinary and faecal incontinence substantially impacts upon physical health and is associated with significant psychological distress and reduced quality of life. Due to stigma and embarrassment, many patients do not see their general practitioner (GP) for management of incontinence. This article aims to summarise the forms and causes of incontinence, highlight the psychological mechanisms associated with incontinence, and provide management recommendations for GPs.

Abstract

Urinary and faecal incontinence substantially impacts upon physical health and is associated with significant psychological distress and reduced quality of life. Due to stigma and embarrassment, many patients do not present for management of their incontinence.

Aim

The objective of this article is to summarise the forms and causes of urinary and faecal incontinence, highlight the psychological mechanisms and psychopathology associated with incontinence, and provide management recommendations.

Conclusion

Urinary and faecal incontinence can have a significant impact on an individual’s psychological wellbeing and quality of life. Psychological factors may either contribute to or arise from incontinence and should be addressed as part of the overall management plan.

Author Information

Kenley LJ Kuoch, PhD (Psychology) Candidate, Department of Psychological Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia; Geoffrey S Hebbard, Consultant Gastroenterologist; Director of Gastroenterology; Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; Helen E O’Connell, Urological Surgeon; Head of Urology; Director of Surgery, Department of Surgery, Western Health, Melbourne, Australia;
David W Austin, Professor of Psychology; Associate Dean, School of Psychology, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia; Simon R Knowles, Clinical Psychologist; Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychological Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Psychiatry, St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia. 

Correspondence

Simon R Knowles, Swinburne University of Technology, John St, Hawthorn VIC 3122, Melbourne, Australia.

Correspondence Email

sknowles@swin.edu.au

Competing Interests

Nil.

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