This study reports the lived experience of women suffering from urinary incontinence (UI) managed at the gynecology department of the University Hospital Centre of Yaoundé. A qualitative descriptive study involving 12 women diagnosed with urinary incontinence was conducted.
The data were collected through semi-structured interviews between September 25 and December 12, 2013. Women were interviewed at home for 11 participants and at the job site for one of them. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and analyzed to report lived experience of women with UI. Patients were between 23 and 68 years old, eight were married, three were single and one was a widow. Ten had reached high school or more.
Regarding etiological beliefs about urinary incontinence, causes mentioned by women were old age (1), diabetes (1), spinal malformation (1), deep sleep (4), childbirth (3), mysticism (1), urinary infection (1), and frequent water drinking (1). In terms of self-esteem, urinary incontinence led to self-underestimation for some patients. One of them even considered suicide as a solution to her condition.
To conclude, UI is poorly experienced by women. More studies are required for a better understanding of this phenomenon in Cameroon.