The University of Glamorgan in Wales is launching a survey to assess the needs of women suffering from incontinence problems.
The study could be the first step towards breaking many of the taboos which surround the common condition.
It could also lead to the development of specific information tailored towards women's needs.
She said: "Only about 15% of women with symptoms of frequency or urgency seek help largely because they are embarrassed and they believe that there is very little treatment available.
"If they are aware of the treatment they believe that it is surgical or something extreme.
"There is also a lack of knowledge about the symptoms and a lot of women believe that it is just part of the ageing process or consequence of having had a baby or two."
Incontinence is twice as common in women as it is in men, and childbirth is one of the main risk factors, but the menopause and the subsequent fall in hormone levels is also implicated in the often distressing condition.
Dr Shaw said: "Even when women do go to the doctor for help we found that they weren't getting the best treatments because doctors aren't always aware of what the best treatments are.
"The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has suggested that the first line of treatment should be conservative in primary care and usually involves pelvic floor exercises and bladder training, before people are referred to secondary care.
"There is something of a double whammy here - not only do people with symptoms not know much about it, but nor do the health professionals they seek help from."
The study will involve some 20 women who are suffering from incontinence, especially those who have not sought help from their GP. It will ask them about what they believe will be the best form of help for them, Wales Online reports.
Dr Shaw said: "One model is the expert patient programme which is a group-based intervention that helps people self-manage a condition.
"But it may be that because this is such a sensitive topic, women may not want to go along to a group and talk about it in front of others.
"Another approach may be information on the internet, but because incontinence is an age-related condition, there may be issues about access.
"We're trying to find out what women would prefer and what type of information they want, be it about self-management, treatment or help from health professionals."