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Women should be screened for continence problems following childbirth, says research

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Healthcare professionals should actively screen for continence problems among women following childbirth. This is the conclusion of study which identified that bladder symptoms have a profound effect on postpartum women who frequently adopt ineffective management strategies.

The study involved women who had given birth during a three-month period from November 2002 to January 2003 and who had experienced urinary incontinence since giving birth.

The most frequently reported lower urinary tract symptoms were small amounts of urine leakage and leakage related to physical activity, coughing, or sneezing. Half the women reporting these symptoms said that they were moderately or greatly bothered by them.

The women said that their symptoms affected the way they dressed, sexual relationships and recreational activities. The most commonly used management strategies were frequent toileting and pads. Nearly a quarter of women had done nothing about their symptoms.

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