This guideline covers the care and treatment of women aged 18 years and older with urinary incontinence (stress, urgency or mixed urinary incontinence, or overactive bladder). It aims to improve the physical, psychological and social wellbeing of women who have urinary incontinence.

In November 2015, we deleted recommendation 1.1.14 and replaced it with a link to updated guidance in suspected cancer: recognition and referral (NICE guideline NG12).


This guideline includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

  • Healthcare professionals
  • Women 18 years and older with urinary incontinence, and their families and carers

Is this guideline up to date?

We reviewed the evidence in March 2016 and we are updating the recommendations on surgical approaches for stress urinary incontinence and extending the scope to include pelvic organ prolapse. See the guideline in development page for progress on the update.

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines

This guidance updates and replaces NICE guideline CG40 (October 2006), NICE technology appraisal guidance 56 (February 2003) and NICE advice ESNM2 (September 2012).

This guideline was previously called urinary incontinence: the management of urinary incontinence in women.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

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