Female urinary incontinence is defined by the International Society of Continence as an involuntary urine leak, demonstrated objectively, which causes social and hygiene problems 1.
Many etiopathological factors have undoubtedly contributed to the difficulty in choosing the best treatment for this problem. Factors considered as classic such as a high number of pregnancies, poor assistance during labour, ageing, poor nutrition, and hygiene, have been joined by venous and arterial periurethral irrigation from recent research. However, scleroatrophic processes, from the mucosa or periurethral muscles, also contribute to urinary incontinence; this may explain nullipara or post cesarean symptoms 2,3.
Symptoms suggesting bladder overactivity (frequency, urgency and nycturia) should be carefully evaluated, since they can indicate potentially curable pathologies; for example urinary tract infections and hypoestrogenemia can cause urge incontinence 4,5.
The increased complexity of exams used for diagnosing urinary incontinence demands a careful evaluation of the risks and benefits for each patient.
Objective and quantitative evaluation of urinary incontinence are important both initially and as a follow-up to treatment.
The examiner has to obtain a complete patient profile with a detailed description of the urinary leak characteristics. Sudden occurrence is unusual and generally caused by intravesical problems, such as infection, foreign bodies, tumor, or discarded calculus 5,6.
Smoking, obesity, constipation, and professions that demand the lifting and transportation of weights, can give rise to a constant increase in intra abdominal pressure, compromising pelvic floor quality 5.
Symptom frequency should provide a good indicator of urinary leak intensity and its effect on patient quality of life. However, subjective frequency evaluation has not demonstrated a precise relationship with incontinence gravity 7.
Stress urinary incontinence associated with frequency and urgency can cause social and emotional problems 8.
Different authors (8,9,10,11,12) have tried to evaluate the psychosocial impact of urinary incontinence by objective evaluation. NORTON (1982) noted that urinary leak affects social activity and mental well-being 13.
WYMAN et al (1987) observed that urinary incontinence influences daily and social activities, and self esteem, the last two being more affected, especially when involving unfamiliar places, long trips, and physical activities  8. The reason for the difference is still not very clear. Patients with urge incontinence are not capable of predicting urinary leak, having less control than those with stress urinary incontinence  8.
PARKIN et al (1986) using the analogue visual scale in diagnosis observed that women with urgency complaints are more aware of their symptoms than those with stress urinary incontinence10. These authors also observed that after curing urge incontinence, the improvements could be seen on the analogue visual scale.
Different tests have been used in the objective evaluation of urinary incontinence 14. However, these tests use different principles, methodologies, and varying test periods; the accuracy and reproducibility of these tests have been discussed. In 1983 the International Continence Society promoted the 60-minute pad test for the evaluation of urinary incontinence14.
The aim of this study was to compare clinical subjective evaluation using questionnaire and analogue visual scale, and objective evaluation using the 60-minute pad test in diagnosing female urinary incontinence.