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Three Questions Can Identify Type of Incontinence

Simple questionnaire may replace current extensive evaluation for distinguishing between urge and stress incontinence

WEDNESDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) -- Three simple questions can enable primary care practitioners to distinguish between urge and stress incontinence in women, obviating the need for extensive evaluation, according to a study published in the May 16 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Jeanette S. Brown, M.D., of the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues conducted a study of the accuracy of the 3 Incontinence Questions (3IQ) among 301 women in five medical centers across the United States. The women had a mean age of 56 years and had untreated incontinence for an average of seven years.

The women were asked whether they leaked urine, when they leaked urine and when they leaked urine most often. They also kept a diary of their symptoms and underwent full examination and testing. The diary entries and testing data were used to determine the accuracy of the 3IQ.

The 3IQ had a sensitivity of 0.75, specificity of 0.77 and a positive likelihood ratio of 3.29 for the classification of urge incontinence. For stress incontinence the 3IQ had a sensitivity of 0.86, specificity of 0.60 and the positive likelihood ratio was 2.13.

"The 3IQ questionnaire is a simple, quick and non-invasive test with acceptable accuracy for classifying urge and stress incontinence and may be appropriate for use in primary care settings. Similar studies are needed in other populations," the authors conclude.

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