Prevalence, social impact and help-seeking behaviour among women with urinary incontinence in the Gulf countries: A systematic review

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Urinary incontinence (UI) in women is a common problem worldwide. It has a major impact on the physical and social activities and interpersonal relationships. The societies in the Gulf countries are conservative and favours large families, high parity and short inter-pregnancy intervals. Moreover, there is a high prevalence of gestational diabetes with many macrosomic babies. This study aimed to review the published literature on UI among women in this region. Methods: All published literature which investigated the prevalence, social impact and help-seeking behavior in women with UI in the Gulf countries was reviewed. Results: Nine studies met the criteria and were very heterogeneous. None of them was a true population-based study and all except one, investigated subjects from healthcare facilities. The prevalence of UI ranged from 20.3% to 54.5%. Stress UI was the main type reported. The main predisposing factors were chronic respiratory diseases and constipation. There was a large impact on the quality of life with major interference with prayers (34–90%) and sexual relationships (18–57%). The main reasons for not seeking medical advice were embarrassment to see doctors especially male doctors and the belief that UI is common, normal or incurable disease. Conclusions: There is a need for true whole population-based studies of UI in this region with the use of validated international questionnaires. UI was shown to have a major impact on the act of prayers and sexual relationships. A large proportion of women are still embarrassed to discuss the issue with doctors especially male doctors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-156
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Behaviour
  • Gulf countries
  • Help-seeking
  • Prevalence
  • Social impact
  • Urinary incontinence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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