International Urogynecology Journal

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 539–546 | Cite as

Urinary incontinence among Muslim women in Israel: risk factors and help-seeking behavior

  • Yulia Treister-Goltzman
  • Roni Peleg
Original Article


Introduction and hypothesis

The prevalence of urinary incontinence (UI) varies among women in different cultures. Muslim women with UI have complex issues related to the need for cleaning (ablution) before prayer. The aim was to assess the prevalence of UI, factors associated with it, its effect on quality of life, and help-seeking behavior among Muslim women.


This was a cross-sectional study. Self-administered questionnaires completed by women 18–75 years of age who visited the primary care clinic between 21 June 2015 and 9 October 2015 and additional data collected from their medical records.


A total of 492 women (mean age 31.8 ± 9.5 years) participated in the study. Of these, 43% suffered from UI and 19% from severe to very severe UI. The mean score for interference in daily life (0–10) was 6.3 ± 3.7. Sixty percent of women with UI had stress incontinence, 23% urge incontinence, and 9% mixed incontinence. Only 10% had consulted previously with their physician regarding UI. Increased BMI (OR = 1.048, 95% CI 1.009–1.089) and polygamy (OR = 1.943, 95% CI 1.007–3.749) were associated with severe to very severe UI. Age, parity, and more severe degrees of UI were associated with help-seeking behavior (OR = 1.065 95% CI 1.008–1.125, OR = 0.763 95% CI 0.624–0.934, OR = 4.073 95% CI 1.410–11.765 respectively).


Urinary incontinence is very common among Muslim women in primary care in southern Israel and significantly impairs their quality of life. Only a small percentage consults with their physician.


Urinary incontinence Muslim women Bedouin Quality of life Help-seeking behavior 


Compliance with ethical standards

Financial disclaimer

This research was funded by a grant from the Israel Association of Family Physicians: 15,000 NIS.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© The International Urogynecological Association 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clalit Health Services, Southern District and the Department of Family Medicine and Siaal Research Center for Family Practice and Primary Care, Faculty of Health SciencesBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer-ShevaIsrael

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