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November 14, 1990

Physicians Hear About Incontinence

JAMA. 1990;264(18):2361-2362. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450180011001

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MOST ADULTS in diapers do not need to be.

Urinary incontinence is usually treatable, often without surgery. The problem, say experts, is getting primary care physicians to provide this care.

That may change. Diaper manufacturers are starting to advise users to consult physicians, and government regulators are likely to get involved. But, for the moment, incontinence is of little interest to many physicians, says L. Lewis Wall, MD, director of the Bladder Function Clinic at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.

Physicians ask patients, "What do you expect at your age?" says Cheryl Gartley, president of the Simon Foundation, a support group that is based in Wilmette, Ill, a suburb of Chicago.

Or they tell them to "wait until it becomes more of a problem," says Peter Sand, MD, director of urogynecology at Rush Medical College of Rush University in Chicago. Half the patients who are referred to him, he