1 Recommendations

The following guidance is based on the best available evidence. The full guideline gives details of the methods and the evidence used to develop the guidance.

The wording used in the recommendations in this guideline (for example words such as 'offer' and 'consider') denotes the certainty with which the recommendation is made (the strength of the recommendation). See about this guideline for details.

1.1 Assessment and investigation

History‑taking and physical examination

1.1.1 At the initial clinical assessment, categorise the woman's urinary incontinence (UI) as stress UI (SUI), mixed UI, or urgency UI/overactive bladder (OAB). Start initial treatment on this basis. In mixed UI, direct treatment towards the predominant symptom. [2006]

1.1.2 If stress incontinence is the predominant symptom in mixed UI, discuss with the woman the benefit of conservative management including OAB drugs before offering surgery. [new 2013]

1.1.3 During the clinical assessment seek to identify relevant predisposing and precipitating factors and other diagnoses that may require referral for additional investigation and treatment. [2006]

Assessment of pelvic floor muscles

1.1.4 Undertake routine digital assessment to confirm pelvic floor muscle contraction before the use of supervised pelvic floor muscle training for the treatment of UI. [2006, amended 2013]

Assessment of prolapse

1.1.5 Refer women with UI who have symptomatic prolapse that is visible at or below the vaginal introitus to a specialist. [2006]

Urine testing

1.1.6 Undertake a urine dipstick test in all women presenting with UI to detect the presence of blood, glucose, protein, leucocytes and nitrites in the urine. [2006]

1.1.7 If women have symptoms of urinary tract infection (UTI) and their urine tests positive for both leucocytes and nitrites send a midstream urine specimen for culture and analysis of antibiotic sensitivities. Prescribe an appropriate course of antibiotic treatment pending culture results. [2006]

1.1.8 If women have symptoms of UTI and their urine tests negative for either leucocytes or nitrites send a midstream urine specimen for culture and analysis of antibiotic sensitivities. Consider the prescription of antibiotics pending culture results. [2006]

1.1.9 If women do not have symptoms of UTI, but their urine tests positive for both leucocytes and nitrites, do not offer antibiotics without the results of midstream urine culture. [2006]

1.1.10 If a woman does not have symptoms of UTI and her urine tests negative for either leucocytes or nitrites do not send a urine sample for culture because she is unlikely to have UTI. [2006]

Assessment of residual urine

1.1.11 Measure post‑void residual volume by bladder scan or catheterisation in women with symptoms suggestive of voiding dysfunction or recurrent UTI. [2006]

1.1.12 Use a bladder scan in preference to catheterisation on the grounds of acceptability and lower incidence of adverse events. [2006]

1.1.13 Refer women who are found to have a palpable bladder on bimanual or abdominal examination after voiding to a specialist. [2006]

Referral

1.1.14 This recommendation has been replaced by recommendations 1.6.4 and 1.6.5 in the NICE guideline on suspected cancer: recognition and referral.

1.1.15 In women with UI, further indications for consideration for referral to a specialist service include:

  • persisting bladder or urethral pain

  • clinically benign pelvic masses

  • associated faecal incontinence

  • suspected neurological disease

  • symptoms of voiding difficulty

  • suspected urogenital fistulae

  • previous continence surgery

  • previous pelvic cancer surgery

  • previous pelvic radiation therapy[3]. [2006]

Symptom scoring and quality‑of‑life assessment

1.1.16 Use the following incontinence‑specific quality‑of‑life scales when therapies are being evaluated: ICIQ, BFLUTS, I‑QOL, SUIQQ, UISS, SEAPI‑QMM, ISI and KHQ[4]. [2006]

Bladder diaries

1.1.17 Use bladder diaries in the initial assessment of women with UI or OAB. Encourage women to complete a minimum of 3 days of the diary covering variations in their usual activities, such as both working and leisure days. [2006]

Pad testing

1.1.18 Do not use pad tests in the routine assessment of women with UI. [2006]

Urodynamic testing

1.1.19 Do not perform multi‑channel cystometry, ambulatory urodynamics or videourodynamics before starting conservative management. [2006, amended 2013]

1.1.20 After undertaking a detailed clinical history and examination, perform multi‑channel filling and voiding cystometry before surgery in women who have:

  • symptoms of OAB leading to a clinical suspicion of detrusor overactivity, or

  • symptoms suggestive of voiding dysfunction or anterior compartment prolapse, or

  • had previous surgery for stress incontinence. [2006, amended 2013]

1.1.21 Do not perform multi‑channel filling and voiding cystometry in the small group of women where pure SUI is diagnosed based on a detailed clinical history and examination. [2006, amended 2013]

1.1.22 Consider ambulatory urodynamics or videourodynamics if the diagnosis is unclear after conventional urodynamics. [2006, amended 2013]

Other tests of urethral competence

1.1.23 Do not use the Q‑tip, Bonney, Marshall and Fluid‑Bridge tests in the assessment of women with UI. [2006]

Cystoscopy

1.1.24 Do not use cystoscopy in the initial assessment of women with UI alone. [2006]

Imaging

1.1.25 Do not use imaging (MRI, CT, X‑ray) for the routine assessment of women with UI. Do not use ultrasound other than for the assessment of residual urine volume. [2006]

1.2 Lifestyle interventions

Caffeine

1.2.1 Recommend a trial of caffeine reduction to women with OAB. [2006]

Fluid intake

1.2.2 Consider advising modification of high or low fluid intake in women with UI or OAB. [2006]

Weight

1.2.3 Advise women with UI or OAB who have a BMI greater than 30 to lose weight. [2006]

1.3 Physical therapies

Pelvic floor muscle training

1.3.1 Offer a trial of supervised pelvic floor muscle training of at least 3 months' duration as first‑line treatment to women with stress or mixed UI. [2006]

1.3.2 Pelvic floor muscle training programmes should comprise at least 8 contractions performed 3 times per day. [2006]

1.3.3 Do not use perineometry or pelvic floor electromyography as biofeedback as a routine part of pelvic floor muscle training. [2006]

1.3.4 Continue an exercise programme if pelvic floor muscle training is beneficial. [2006]

Therapeutic stimulation

1.3.5 Do not routinely use electrical stimulation in the treatment of women with OAB. [2006]

1.3.6 Do not routinely use electrical stimulation in combination with pelvic floor muscle training. [2006]

1.3.7 Electrical stimulation and/or biofeedback should be considered in women who cannot actively contract pelvic floor muscles in order to aid motivation and adherence to therapy. [2006]

1.4 Behavioural therapies

Bladder training

1.4.1 Offer bladder training lasting for a minimum of 6 weeks as first‑line treatment to women with urgency or mixed UI. [2006]

Multicomponent behavioural therapy

1.4.2 If women do not achieve satisfactory benefit from bladder training programmes, the combination of an OAB drug with bladder training should be considered if frequency is a troublesome symptom. [2006]

1.5 Neurostimulation

Within this guideline neurostimulation covers transcutaneous sacral nerve stimulation (surface electrodes placed above the sacrum), transcutaneous posterior tibial nerve stimulation (surface electrodes place above the posterior tibial nerve) and percutaneous posterior tibial nerve stimulation (needles inserted close to the posterior tibial nerve).

Transcutaneous sacral nerve stimulation

1.5.1 Do not offer transcutaneous sacral nerve stimulation[5] to treat OAB in women. [new 2013]

Transcutaneous posterior tibial nerve stimulation

1.5.2 Explain that there is insufficient evidence to recommend the use of transcutaneous posterior tibial nerve stimulation to treat OAB. [new 2013]

1.5.3 Do not offer transcutaneous posterior tibial nerve stimulation for OAB. [new 2013]

Percutaneous posterior tibial nerve stimulation

1.5.4 Do not offer percutaneous posterior tibial nerve stimulation for OAB unless:

  • there has been a multidisciplinary team (MDT) review, and

  • conservative management including OAB drug treatment has not worked adequately, and

  • the woman does not want botulinum toxin A[6] or percutaneous sacral nerve stimulation. [new 2013]

1.5.5 Explain that there is insufficient evidence to recommend the use of percutaneous posterior tibial nerve stimulation to routinely treat OAB. [new 2013]

1.6 Alternative conservative management options

Absorbent products, urinals and toileting aids

1.6.1 Absorbent products, hand held urinals and toileting aids should not be considered as a treatment for UI. Use them only as:

  • a coping strategy pending definitive treatment

  • an adjunct to ongoing therapy

  • long‑term management of UI only after treatment options have been explored. [2006]

Catheters

1.6.2 Bladder catheterisation (intermittent or indwelling urethral or suprapubic) should be considered for women in whom persistent urinary retention is causing incontinence, symptomatic infections, or renal dysfunction, and in whom this cannot otherwise be corrected. Healthcare professionals should be aware, and explain to women, that the use of indwelling catheters in urgency UI may not result in continence. [2006]

Intermittent urethral catheters

1.6.3 Offer intermittent urethral catheterisation to women with urinary retention who can be taught to self‑catheterise or who have a carer who can perform the technique. [2006]

Indwelling urethral catheters

1.6.4 Give careful consideration to the impact of long‑term indwelling urethral catheterisation. Discuss the practicalities, benefits and risks with the patient or, if appropriate, her carer. Indications for the use of long‑term indwelling urethral catheters for women with UI include:

  • chronic urinary retention in women who are unable to manage intermittent self‑catheterisation

  • skin wounds, pressure ulcers or irritations that are being contaminated by urine

  • distress or disruption caused by bed and clothing changes

  • where a woman expresses a preference for this form of management. [2006]

Indwelling suprapubic catheters

1.6.5 Indwelling suprapubic catheters should be considered as an alternative to long‑term urethral catheters. Be aware, and explain to women, that they may be associated with lower rates of symptomatic UTI, 'bypassing', and urethral complications than indwelling urethral catheters. [2006]

Products to prevent leakage

1.6.6 Do not use intravaginal and intraurethral devices for the routine management of UI in women. Do not advise women to consider such devices other than for occasional use when necessary to prevent leakage, for example during physical exercise. [2006]

Complementary therapies

1.6.7 Do not recommend complementary therapies for the treatment of UI or OAB. [2006]

Preventive use of conservative therapies

1.6.8 Offer pelvic floor muscle training to women in their first pregnancy as a preventive strategy for UI. [2006]

Women who choose not to have further treatment

1.6.9 If a woman chooses not to have further treatment for urinary incontinence:

  • offer her advice about managing urinary symptoms, and

  • explain that if she changes her mind at a later date she can book a review appointment to discuss past tests and interventions and reconsider her treatment options. [new 2013]

1.7 Pharmacological treatment

General principles when using OAB drugs

1.7.1 When offering antimuscarinic drugs to treat OAB always take account of:

  • the woman's coexisting conditions (for example, poor bladder emptying)

  • use of other existing medication affecting the total anticholinergic load

  • risk of adverse effects. [new 2013]

1.7.2 Before OAB drug treatment starts, discuss with women:

  • the likelihood of success and associated common adverse effects, and

  • the frequency and route of administration, and

  • that some adverse effects such as dry mouth and constipation may indicate that treatment is starting to have an effect, and

  • that they may not see the full benefits until they have been taking the treatment for 4 weeks. [new 2013]

1.7.3 Prescribe the lowest recommended dose when starting a new OAB drug treatment. [new 2013]

1.7.4 If a woman's OAB drug treatment is effective and well‑tolerated, do not change the dose or drug. [new 2013]

Choosing OAB drugs

1.7.5 Do not use flavoxate, propantheline and imipramine for the treatment of UI or OAB in women. [2006]

1.7.6 Do not offer oxybutynin (immediate release) to frail older women[7]. [new 2013]

1.7.7 Offer one of the following choices first to women with OAB or mixed UI:

  • oxybutynin (immediate release), or

  • tolterodine (immediate release), or

  • darifenacin (once daily preparation). [new 2013]

1.7.8 If the first treatment for OAB or mixed UI is not effective or well‑tolerated, offer another drug with the lowest acquisition cost[8]. [new 2013]

1.7.9 Offer a transdermal OAB drug to women unable to tolerate oral medication. [new 2013]

1.7.10 For guidance on mirabegron for treating symptoms of overactive bladder, refer to mirabegron for treating symptoms of overactive bladder (NICE technology appraisal guidance 290). [new 2013]

Reviewing OAB drug treatment

1.7.11 Offer a face‑to‑face or telephone review 4 weeks after the start of each new OAB drug treatment. Ask the woman if she is satisfied with the therapy:

  • If improvement is optimal, continue treatment.

  • If there is no or suboptimal improvement or intolerable adverse effects change the dose, or try an alternative OAB drug (see recommendations 1.7.8–1.7.9), and review again 4 weeks later. [new 2013]

1.7.12 Offer review before 4 weeks if the adverse events of OAB drug treatment are intolerable. [new 2013]

1.7.13 Offer referral to secondary care if the woman does not want to try another drug, but would like to consider further treatment. [new 2013]

1.7.14 Offer a further face‑to‑face or telephone review if a woman's condition stops responding optimally to treatment after an initial successful 4‑week review. [new 2013]

1.7.15 Review women who remain on long‑term drug treatment for UI or OAB annually in primary care (or every 6 months for women over 75). [new 2013]

1.7.16 Offer referral to secondary care if OAB drug treatment is not successful. [new 2013]

1.7.17 If the woman wishes to discuss the options for further management (non‑therapeutic interventions and invasive therapy) refer to the MDT and arrange urodynamic investigation to determine whether detrusor overactivity is present and responsible for her OAB symptoms:

  • If detrusor overactivity is present and responsible for the OAB symptoms offer invasive therapy (see recommendations in section 1.9).

  • If detrusor overactivity is present but the woman does not wish to have invasive therapy, offer advice as described in recommendation 1.6.9.

  • If detrusor overactivity is not present refer back to the MDT for further discussion concerning future management. [new 2013]

Desmopressin

1.7.18 The use of desmopressin may be considered specifically to reduce nocturia[9] in women with UI or OAB who find it a troublesome symptom. Use particular caution in women with cystic fibrosis and avoid in those over 65 years with cardiovascular disease or hypertension. [2006, amended 2013]

Duloxetine

1.7.19 Do not use duloxetine as a first‑line treatment for women with predominant stress UI. Do not routinely offer duloxetine as a second‑line treatment for women with stress UI, although it may be offered as second‑line therapy if women prefer pharmacological to surgical treatment or are not suitable for surgical treatment. If duloxetine is prescribed, counsel women about its adverse effects. [2006]

Oestrogens

1.7.20 Do not offer systemic hormone replacement therapy for the treatment of UI. [2006]

1.7.21 Offer intravaginal oestrogens for the treatment of OAB symptoms in postmenopausal women with vaginal atrophy. [2006]

1.8 The multidisciplinary team (MDT)

1.8.1 Inform any woman wishing to consider surgical treatment for UI about:

  • the benefits and risks of surgical and non‑surgical options

  • their provisional treatment plan.

    Include consideration of the woman's child‑bearing wishes in the counselling. [2006, amended 2013]

1.8.2 Offer invasive therapy for OAB and/or SUI symptoms only after an MDT review. [new 2013]

1.8.3 When recommending optimal management the MDT should take into account:

  • the woman's preference

  • past management

  • comorbidities

  • treatment options (including further conservative management such as OAB drug therapy). [new 2013]

1.8.4 The MDT for urinary incontinence should include:

  • a urogynaecologist

  • a urologist with a sub‑specialist interest in female urology

  • a specialist nurse

  • a specialist physiotherapist

  • a colorectal surgeon with a sub‑specialist interest in functional bowel problems, for women with coexisting bowel problems

  • a member of the care of the elderly team and/or occupational therapist, for women with functional impairment. [new 2013]

1.8.5 Inform the woman of the outcome of the MDT review if it alters the provisional treatment plan. [new 2013]

1.8.6 All MDTs should work within an established regional clinical network to ensure all women are offered the appropriate treatment options and high quality care. [new 2013]

1.9 Invasive procedures for OAB

Botulinum toxin A

1.9.1 After an MDT review, offer bladder wall injection with botulinum toxin A[6] to women with OAB caused by proven detrusor overactivity that has not responded to conservative management (including OAB drug therapy). [new 2013]

1.9.2 Discuss the risks and benefits of treatment with botulinum toxin A[6] with women before seeking informed consent, covering:

  • the likelihood of being symptom free or having a large reduction in symptoms

  • the risk of clean intermittent catheterisation and the potential for it to be needed for variable lengths of time after the effect of the injections has worn off

  • the absence of evidence on duration of effect between treatments and the long‑term efficacy and risks

  • the risk of adverse effects, including an increased risk of urinary tract infection. [new 2013]

1.9.3 Start treatment with botulinum toxin A[6] only if women:

  • have been trained in clean intermittent catheterisation and have performed the technique successfully, and

  • are able and willing to perform clean intermittent catheterisation on a regular basis for as long as needed. [new 2013]

1.9.4 Use 200 units when offering botulinum toxin A[6]. [new 2013]

1.9.5 Consider 100 units of botulinum toxin A[6] for women who would prefer a dose with a lower chance of catheterisation and accept a reduced chance of success. [new 2013]

1.9.6 If the first botulinum toxin A[6] treatment has no effect discuss with the MDT. [new 2013]

1.9.7 If botulinum toxin A[6] treatment is effective, offer follow‑up at 6 months or sooner if symptoms return for repeat treatment without an MDT referral. [new 2013]

1.9.8 Tell women how to self‑refer for prompt specialist review if symptoms return following a botulinum toxin A[6] procedure. Offer repeat treatment as necessary. [new 2013]

1.9.9 Do not offer botulinum toxin B to women with proven detrusor overactivity. [2006]

Percutaneous sacral nerve stimulation

1.9.10 Offer percutaneous sacral nerve stimulation to women after MDT review if:

  • their OAB has not responded to conservative management including drugs, and

  • they are unable to perform clean intermittent catheterisation. [new 2013]

1.9.11 Consider percutaneous sacral nerve stimulation after MDT review if a woman's OAB has not responded to conservative management (including drugs) and botulinum toxin A[6]. [new 2013]

1.9.12 Discuss the long‑term implications of percutaneous sacral nerve stimulation with women including:

  • the need for test stimulation and probability of the test's success

  • the risk of failure

  • the long‑term commitment

  • the need for surgical revision

  • the adverse effects. [new 2013]

1.9.13 Tell women how to self‑refer for prompt specialist review if symptoms return following a percutaneous sacral nerve stimulation procedure. [new 2013]

Augmentation cystoplasty

1.9.14 Restrict augmentation cystoplasty for the management of idiopathic detrusor overactivity to women whose condition has not responded to conservative management and who are willing and able to self‑catheterise. Preoperative counselling for the woman or her carer should include common and serious complications: bowel disturbance, metabolic acidosis, mucus production and/or retention in the bladder, UTI and urinary retention. Discuss the small risk of malignancy occurring in the augmented bladder. Provide life‑long follow‑up. [2006, amended 2013]

Urinary diversion

1.9.15 Urinary diversion should be considered for a woman with OAB only when conservative management has failed, and if botulinum toxin A[6], percutaneous sacral nerve stimulation and augmentation cystoplasty are not appropriate or are unacceptable to her. Provide life‑long follow‑up. [2006, amended 2013]

1.10 Surgical approaches for SUI

1.10.1 When offering a surgical procedure discuss with the woman the risks and benefits of the different treatment options for SUI using the information in information to facilitate discussion of risks and benefits of treatments for women with stress urinary incontinence. [new 2013]

1.10.2 If conservative management for SUI has failed, offer:

  • synthetic mid‑urethral tape (see recommendations 1.10.3–8), or

  • open colposuspension (see also recommendation 1.10.9), or

  • autologous rectus fascial sling (see also recommendation 1.10.10). [new 2013]

Synthetic tapes

1.10.3 When offering a synthetic mid‑urethral tape procedure, surgeons should:

  • use procedures and devices for which there is current high quality evidence of efficacy and safety[10]

  • only use a device that they have been trained to use (see recommendations in section 1.11)

  • use a device manufactured from type 1 macroporous polypropylene tape

  • consider using a tape coloured for high visibility, for ease of insertion and revision. [new 2013]

1.10.4 If women are offered a procedure involving the transobturator approach, make them aware of the lack of long‑term outcome data. [new 2013]

1.10.5 Refer women to an alternative surgeon if their chosen procedure is not available from the consulting surgeon. [new 2013]

1.10.6 Use 'top‑down' retropubic tape approach only as part of a clinical trial. [new 2013]

1.10.7 Refer to single-incision sub-urethral short tape insertion for stress urinary incontinence (NICE interventional procedure guidance 262) for guidance on single‑incision procedures. [new 2013]

1.10.8 Offer a follow‑up appointment (including vaginal examination to exclude erosion) within 6 months to all women who have had continence surgery. [new 2013]

Colposuspension

1.10.9 Do not offer laparoscopic colposuspension as a routine procedure for the treatment of stress UI in women. Only an experienced laparoscopic surgeon working in an MDT with expertise in the assessment and treatment of UI should perform the procedure. [2006]

Biological slings

1.10.10 Do not offer anterior colporrhaphy, needle suspensions, paravaginal defect repair and the Marshall–Marchetti–Krantz procedure for the treatment of stress UI. [2006]

Intramural bulking agents

1.10.11 Consider intramural bulking agents (silicone, carbon‑coated zirconium beads or hyaluronic acid/dextran copolymer) for the management of stress UI if conservative management has failed. Women should be made aware that:

  • repeat injections may be needed to achieve efficacy

  • efficacy diminishes with time

  • efficacy is inferior to that of synthetic tapes or autologous rectus fascial slings. [2006, amended 2013]

1.10.12 Do not offer autologous fat and polytetrafluoroethylene used as intramural bulking agents for the treatment of stress UI. [2006]

Artificial urinary sphincter

1.10.13 In view of the associated morbidity, the use of an artificial urinary sphincter should be considered for the management of stress UI in women only if previous surgery has failed. Life‑long follow‑up is recommended. [2006]

Considerations following unsuccessful invasive SUI procedures or recurrence of symptoms

1.10.14 Women whose primary surgical procedure for SUI has failed (including women whose symptoms have returned) should be:

  • referred to tertiary care for assessment (such as repeat urodynamic testing including additional tests such as imaging and urethral function studies) and discussion of treatment options by the MDT, or

  • offered advice as described in recommendation 1.6.9 if the woman does not want continued invasive SUI procedures. [new 2013]

1.11 Maintaining and measuring expertise and standards for practice

1.11.1 Surgery for UI should be undertaken only by surgeons who have received appropriate training in the management of UI and associated disorders or who work within an MDT with this training, and who regularly carry out surgery for UI in women. [2006]

1.11.2 Training should be sufficient to develop the knowledge and generic skills documented below. Knowledge should include the:

  • specific indications for surgery

  • required preparation for surgery including preoperative investigations

  • outcomes and complications of proposed procedure

  • anatomy relevant to procedure

  • steps involved in procedure

  • alternative management options

  • likely postoperative progress.

    Generic skills should include:

  • the ability to explain procedures and possible outcomes to patients and family and to obtain informed consent

  • the necessary hand–eye dexterity to complete the procedure safely and efficiently, with appropriate use of assistance

  • the ability to communicate with and manage the operative team effectively

  • the ability to prioritise interventions

  • the ability to recognise when to ask for advice from others

  • a commitment to MDT working. [2006]

1.11.3 Training should include competence in cystourethroscopy. [2006]

1.11.4 Operative competence of surgeons undertaking surgical procedures to treat UI or OAB in women should be formally assessed by trainers through a structured process. [2006]

1.11.5 Surgeons who are already carrying out procedures for UI should be able to demonstrate that their training, experience and current practice equates to the standards laid out for newly trained surgeons. [2006]

1.11.6 Only surgeons who carry out a sufficient case load to maintain their skills should undertake surgery for UI or OAB in women. An annual workload of at least 20 cases of each primary procedure for stress UI is recommended. Surgeons undertaking fewer than 5 cases of any procedure annually should do so only with the support of their clinical governance committee; otherwise referral pathways should be in place within clinical networks. [2006]

1.11.7 There should be a nominated clinical lead within each surgical unit with responsibility for continence and prolapse surgery. The clinical lead should work within the context of an integrated continence service. [2006]

1.11.8 A national audit of continence surgery should be undertaken. [2006]

1.11.9 Surgeons undertaking continence surgery should maintain careful audit data and submit their outcomes to national registries such as those held by the British Society of Urogynaecology (BSUG) and British Association of Urological Surgeons Section of Female and Reconstructive Urology (BAUS‑SFRU). [2006]

Information to facilitate discussion of risks and benefits of treatments for women with stress urinary incontinence

Risks and benefits up to 1 year

Risks and benefits after 1 year

Procedure

Continent <1 year

Perioperative events – tissue injury*

Continent >1 year

Erosion

Retention

Voiding dysfunction

De novo overactive bladder symptoms

Retropubic 'bottom-up'

67% to 90% (24 studies)

3% to 6% (29 studies)

2 years

74% to 95% (7 studies)

0% to 4% (4 studies)

0% to 13% (4 studies)

18% (1 study)

0% to 25% (4 studies)

3 years

81% to 92% (5 studies)

0% (2 studies)

0% (1 study)

No studies

0% to 23% (2 studies)

5 years

69 to 85% (4 studies)

0% to 1% (4 studies)

0% to 5% (2 studies)

0% to 1% (1 study)

0% to 18% (3 studies)

7 years

70% to 85% (2 studies)

0% to 1% (2 studies)

No studies

No studies

17% (1 study)

10 years

56% to 85% (2 studies)

No studies

No studies

No studies

17% (1 study)

Trans-obturator 'outside-in

60% to 75% (10 studies)

3% to 12% (14 studies)

2 years

80% (1 study)

0% (1 study)

4% (1 study)

No studies

7% (1 study)

3 years

No studies

No studies

No studies

No studies

No studies

5 years

No studies

No studies

No studies

No studies

No studies

7 years

No studies

No studies

No studies

No studies

No studies

10 years

No studies

No studies

No studies

No studies

No studies

Trans-obturator 'inside-out'

62% to 73% (19 studies)

1% to 3% (14 studies)

2 years

87% (1 study)

No studies

No studies

No studies

No studies

3 years

75% to 84% (2 studies)

1% (1 study)

No studies

No studies

No studies

5 years

69% to 89% (2 studies

1% (2 studies)

No studies

No studies

0% (1 study)

7 years

No studies

No studies

No studies

No studies

No studies

10 years

No studies

No studies

No studies

No studies

No studies

Retropubic 'top down'

81% (2 studies)

3% to 7% (3 studies)

2 years

No studies

No studies

No studies

No studies

No studies

3 years

No studies

No studies

No studies

No studies

No studies

5 years

No studies

No studies

No studies

No studies

No studies

7 years

No studies

No studies

No studies

No studies

No studies

10 years

No studies

No studies

No studies

No studies

No studies

Open colpo-suspension

53% to 94% (10 studies)

0% to 11% (6 studies)

2 years

70% to 86% (3 studies)

No studies

9% (1 study)

No studies

14% (1 study)

3 years

89% (1 study)

No studies

No studies

No studies

No studies

5 years

78% to 79% (2 studies)

No studies

No studies

4% (1 study)

25% (1 study)

Autologous rectus fascial sling

93% (1 study)

No studies

5 years

No studies

3% (1 study)

No studies

No studies

16% (1 study)

* Tissue injury includes bladder perforation, vaginal wall perforation, urethral and bladder injury.



[3] For further indications for consideration for referral, see recommendations 1.1.5 and 1.1.13.

[4] See full guideline for details.

[5] This is often known as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).

[6] At the time of publication (September 2013), most Botulinum toxin type A preparations did not have a UK marketing authorisation for this indication. Evidence was only available for the licensed Botulinum toxin A (BOTOX, Allergan) preparation.

[7] The Guideline Development Group defined 'frail older women' as those with multiple comorbidities, functional impairments such as walking or dressing difficulties and any degree of cognitive impairment.

[8] This could be any drug with the lowest acquisition cost from any of the drugs reviewed, including an untried drug from recommendation 1.7.7. The evidence review considered the following drugs: darifenacin, fesoterodine, oxybutynin (immediate release), oxybutynin (extended release), oxybutynin (transdermal), oxybutynin (topical gel), propiverine, propiverine (extended release), solifenacin, tolterodine (immediate release), tolterodine (extended release), trospium and trospium (extended release). See chapter 6 of the full guideline.

[9] At the time of publication (September 2013), desmopressin did not have a UK marketing authorisation for this indication. The prescriber should follow relevant professional guidance, taking full responsibility for the decision. Informed consent should be obtained and documented. See the General Medical Council's Good practice in prescribing and managing medicines and devices for further information.

[10] The guideline only recommends the use of tapes with proven efficacy based on robust RCT evidence. However, technological advances are frequent, therefore the choice of tape should include devices that are shown in future clinical trials to have equal or improved efficacy at equal or lower cost. At the time of publication (September 2013) the following met the Guideline Development Group criteria:

TVT or Advantage for a 'bottom-up' retropubic approach

TVT-O for an 'inside-out' transobturator approach

Monarc and obtryx halo for an 'outside-in' transobturator approach.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)