Female urinary incontinence health information quality on the Internet: a multilingual evaluation Academic Article uri icon


  • The quality of Internet information on female urinary incontinence is considered variable. No comprehensive analysis exists to support this. We compared the quality of current Internet information for common layperson terminology on female urinary incontinence across four Western languages and a comparative analysis of website sponsors.World Health Organization Health on the Net (HON) principles may be applied to websites using an automated toolbar function. We used the Google search engine; 10,200 websites were identified using keywords related to female urinary incontinence and treatments in English, French, German and Spanish. The first 150 websites in each language had HON principles examined, whilst a further analysis of site sponsorship was undertaken.The total number of websites for each term is variable. "Female sling surgery" had the most websites with approximately 18 million, whereas "colposuspension" had the least with only 159,890 websites. Regardless of language, very few female urinary incontinence websites were HON accredited (p < 0.0001). Linguistically, French (18%) and English (16%) had the greatest percentage of HON-accredited sites. Tertiles (thirds) of the first 150 websites returned the higher percentage of HON-accredited websites (p < 0.0001). Websites were largely sponsored by physicians/surgeons.The lack of validation of most female urinary incontinence websites should be appreciated by clinicians. Additionally, discrepancies exist in the quality and number of websites across conditions, languages and also between medical and alternative terms. Clinicians should participate in and encourage the development of informative, ethical and reliable health websites on the Internet and direct patients to them.

publication date

  • 2016