SOGC Technical Update| Volume 45, ISSUE 2, P150-159.e1, February 2023

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Technical Update No. 433: eHealth Solutions for Urinary Incontinence Among Women

Published:October 20, 2022DOI:



      The purpose of this technical update is to establish the state of the science regarding emerging and novel electronic health (eHealth) and mobile health (mHealth) solutions for urinary incontinence among women.

      Target population

      Women over 18 years with urinary incontinence.


      Websites and mobile health applications are useful in the conservative care of urinary incontinence. Relevant care providers should be familiar with such tools, particularly those that use motivational principles for behaviour change, which can be used as adjunct tools for urinary incontinence care. Telemedicine is an effect mode to provide services for the conservative care of urinary incontinence.


      Use of eHealth and mHealth solutions has potentially significant health outcomes for patients, providers, and global health systems. Broader use of telemedicine, in and of itself, could improve care access and reduce costs incurred by patients and the health care system.

      Benefits, Harms, and Costs

      Evidence for the efficacy of eHealth and mHealth technologies and applications for urinary incontinence ranges from weak to strong. However, the research landscape for many of these novel solutions is developing rapidly. Furthermore, these options have minimal or no harm and confer an established cost benefit and care access benefit.


      The Cochrane Library, Medline, EMBASE, CENTRAL databases (from January 2014 to April 2019) were searched to find articles related to conservative care of urinary incontinence in women (over 18 years) and studies on eHealth and mHealth interventions for urinary incontinence. Articles were appraised, and the collective evidence was graded.

      Validation methods

      The authors rated the quality of evidence and strength of recommendations using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. See online Appendix A (Tables A1 for definitions and A2 for interpretations of strong and conditional [weak] recommendations).

      Intended audience

      Relevant primary care providers and medical specialists, including physicians, nurses, midwives, and pelvic health physiotherapists.


      • 1.
        Electronic and mobile health interventions for urinary incontinence are growing, both in their availability in the health care market and in the science to support their use (moderate).
      • 2.
        Electronic health interventions offered in conjunction with pelvic floor muscle training, either self-directed or directed by a health care provider (physiotherapist), may provide a marginal benefit in symptom improvement for stress urinary incontinence among women (low).
      • 3.
        Application- and web-based programming for urinary incontinence should include traditional components of self-management programs, including motivational strategies to support behavioural interventions (high).
      • 4.
        Bladder diaries are the most studied electronic health tool for overactive bladder and urge urinary incontinence. The acceptability and feasibility of these mobile health solutions has been established (low).
      • 5.
        There is limited research on how electronic health interventions improve urge urinary incontinence and overactive bladder (low).
      • 6.
        Telehealth can be an effective platform for patient education and counselling on conservative and surgical management of uncomplicated stress urinary incontinence (high).


      • 1.
        Mobile health solutions, such as applications that incorporate evidence-based, motivational, behavioural intervention principles, should be recommended to women with stress urinary incontinence if tailored in-person care is not available or accessible (strong, high).
      • 2.
        There is currently insufficient evidence to recommend the routine use of electronic health interventions that include a physical device to improve stress urinary incontinence symptoms (conditional, very low).
      • 3.
        Electronic health interventions may be recommended to complement stress urinary incontinence treatment, but providers should familiarize themselves with the specific interventions recommended, since they vary significantly in terms of composition, cost, and benefit (conditional, very low).
      • 4.
        Health care providers remain the key knowledge translators and advisors on overactive bladder and urge urinary incontinence; they should not assume that patients will get the information they need from a website (strong, moderate).
      • 5.
        Health care providers may recommend web-based self-management programs that incorporate evidence-based motivational behavioural intervention principles if tailored in-person care is not available or accessible to patients (strong, low).
      • 6.
        Application-based bladder diaries may be used as an alternative to traditional bladder diaries as a self-monitoring tool (conditional, low).
      • 7.
        Follow-up visits for uncomplicated stress urinary incontinence may be considered in women who are comfortable with this platform (strong, low).
      • 8.
        Although there is insufficient evidence to recommend virtual or telehealth consultation for routine pessary care instructions, these platforms can be considered on a case-by-case basis depending on the patient’s comfort with pessary self-care (conditional, very low).
      • 9.
        Surgical counselling for stress urinary incontinence via telehealth or virtual platforms may be considered for women who are comfortable with shared decision-making on these platforms (strong, moderate).
      • 10.
        Post-operative virtual visits may be offered as an alternative to in-person visits after uncomplicated surgery for stress urinary incontinence (strong, moderate).



      eHealth (electronic health), ICIQ-LUTSqol (International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms Quality of Life module), ICIQ-UI SF (International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire – Urinary Incontinence Short Form), mHealth (mobile health), OAB (overactive bladder), PFDI (Pelvic Floor Distress Inventory), PFMT (pelvic floor muscle training), SUI (stress urinary incontinence), UI (urinary incontinence), UUI (urge urinary incontinence)
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