EAU guidelines on urinary incontinence

Joachim W Thüroff, Paul Abrams, Karl-Erik Andersson, Walter Artibani, Christopher R Chapple, Marcus J Drake, Christian Hampel, Andreas Neisius, Annette Schröder, Andrea Tubaro
European Urology 2011, 59 (3): 387-400

CONTEXT: The first European Association of Urology (EAU) guidelines on incontinence were published in 2001. These guidelines were periodically updated in past years.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this paper is to present a summary of the 2009 update of the EAU guidelines on urinary incontinence (UI).

EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: The EAU working panel was part of the 4th International Consultation on Incontinence (ICI) and, with permission of the ICI, extracted the relevant data. The methodology of the 4th ICI was a comprehensive literature review by international experts and consensus formation. In addition, level of evidence was rated according to a modified Oxford system and grades of recommendation were given accordingly.

EVIDENCE SUMMARY: A full version of the EAU guidelines on urinary incontinence is available as a printed document (extended and short form) and as a CD-ROM from the EAU office or online from the EAU Web site ( The extent and invasiveness of assessment of UI depends on severity and/or complexity of symptoms and clinical signs and is different for men, women, frail older persons, children, and patients with neuropathy. At the level of initial management, basic diagnostic tests are applied to exclude an underlying disease or condition such as urinary tract infection. Treatment is mostly conservative (lifestyle interventions, physiotherapy, physical therapy, pharmacotherapy) and is of an empirical nature. At the level of specialised management (when primary therapy failed, diagnosis is unclear, or symptoms and/or signs are complex/severe), more elaborate assessment is generally required, including imaging, endoscopy, and urodynamics. Treatment options include invasive interventions and surgery.

CONCLUSIONS: Treatment options for UI are rapidly expanding. These EAU guidelines provide ratings of the evidence (guided by evidence-based medicine) and graded recommendations for the appropriate assessment and according treatment options and put them into clinical perspective.

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