HealthDay News — The Women’s Preventive Services Initiative (WPSI) recommends annual urinary incontinence screening for women and referral for further evaluation and treatment if indicated, according to a clinical guideline published online Aug. 14 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Heidi D. Nelson, MD, MPH, from the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and colleagues conducted a systematic review to examine whether screening for urinary incontinence improves outcomes in women not previously diagnosed, and examined the accuracy and potential harms of screening. None of the studies assessed the overall effectiveness or harms of screening. The evidence was insufficient for overall effectiveness and harms of screening; some screening methods exhibited fairly high accuracy.

Based on evidence from the review and indirect evidence, the WPSI recommends screening women for urinary incontinence annually. Ideally, screening should assess whether women experience urinary incontinence and its impact on their activities and quality of life. If indicated, women should be referred for further evaluation and treatment.

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“Rather than recommending annual screening for women across the lifespan, we should be advocating a randomized trial to directly assess the benefits and harms of urinary incontinence screening in women,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial. “We advocate caution in implementing the WPSI recommendation until there is direct evidence for a net benefit of annual screening for urinary incontinence.”

Evidence Review (subscription or payment may be required)
Clinical Guideline (subscription or payment may be required)
Editorial (subscription or payment may be required)