Are women's needs being met by specialist health services managing urinary incontinence in the remote Top End NT?

Alexandra Bonner, Jacqueline Boyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Urinary incontinence (UI) is likely to be high in Aboriginal women in rural Australia due to risk factors including high body mass index, parity and diabetes. However, UI appears to be under-reported with limited information on whether women access appropriate care. Aims: To assess whether women who access specialist gynaecological services in rural and remote Top End Northern Territory (NT) through the specialist outreach program (SONT) are receiving care for UI aligned with best practice. Methods: Review of all 1426 SONT referrals in 2012, with audit of management for those women referred for UI or prolapse. Results: Of 1426 SONT referrals, there were 43/1426 (3%) women referred for UI, with 34/43 (79%) attending. Of those referred, 31/43 (72%) were Aboriginal. Of twenty-six women diagnosed with probable stress UI, less than a fifth, 5/26 (19%), were referred to physiotherapy, with 2/5 (40%) attending appointments. Referral occurred for 14/23 (61%) of those suitable for urodynamics but only 6/14 (43%) attended. Just under half of women 7/16 (14%) with stress UI were referred for surgery, with 6/7 (86%) attending. Conclusion: In rural and remote Top End NT, specialist health service management of female UI could be improved by increased provision of current best-practice and an integrated multi-disciplinary team approach with allied health. Under-reporting and under-referral for female UI could be addressed by increasing awareness among community and primary healthcare providers of the problem of female UI and the conservative, medical and surgical treatments available.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-357
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Aboriginal population
  • delivery of health care
  • female urinary incontinence
  • health services
  • rural health

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