Material and Methods: We conducted a national, cross-sectional
mailed survey of 45,000 U.S. households. A 14-item questionnaire assessed
the prevalence and frequency of urinary incontinence symptoms during the
last 30 days. Each questionnaire was to be completed separately by adult
male and female household members. The present analysis focused on SUI
symptoms in female respondents ages 18 and over. The sample was drawn from
households participating in National Family Opinion (NFO) studies, a
representative panel of households balanced to match U.S. census
distributions on multiple factors. Stress symptoms were defined as a leak
or loss of urine due to sneezing, coughing, laughing, exercising, lifting
or physical activity. Urge urinary incontinence (UUI) symptoms were
defined either as: (1) an urge to urinate but being unable to get to the
toilet before leaking or losing urine, or (2) a leak or loss of urine not
due to actions listed in the definition of stress incontinence symptoms.
Results: Of the 45,000 questionnaires mailed to households, 66%
(29,903) were returned, and 82% (24,581) of the returned questionnaires
included a female respondent. A total of 37% of respondents reported
symptoms of urinary incontinence in the last 30 days. Forty-one percent of
the respondents had only SUI symptoms, 12% had only UUI symptoms, and 45%
had mixed stress and urge incontinence (MUI) symptoms. The median age of
respondents with SUI was 48 years compared to 61years for UUI, and 55
years for MUI. Of respondents reporting only SUI in the past 30 days,
almost 70% had experienced symptoms for =1
year, 57% reported symptoms in the last 7 days, 37% used pads or other
absorbent materials, and 24% had consulted a physician for SUI. Of
respondents with only SUI symptoms in the last 7 days, 45% used pads, 28%
had consulted a physician (of whom 6% were taking UI medications), and 26%
had symptoms for over half the week.
Conclusions: Thirty-seven percent of women report urinary
incontinence symptoms in the last 30 days and 41% had symptoms of stress
incontinence only. Extrapolated to the entire US female population, stress
urinary incontinence affects approximately 16 million US women.
To determine the prevalence and frequency of stress,
urge, and mixed urinary incontinence in a community-dwelling population in
the United States. Describe incontinence severity and treatment-seeking
behaviour in women with stress incontinence.
National, cross-sectional mailed survey.
U.S. households participating in National Family Opinion studies. Sample
balanced to match U.S. census distributions on multiple factors (e.g.
geographic region, household income, household size, age). 14-item
questionnaire designed to be completed by adult male and female heads of
household. Present analysis includes only female respondents.
Respondents asked about symptoms in the last 30 days.
37% of community-dwelling adult women reported symptoms
of urinary incontinence in the previous 30 days. 86% of women with any UI
symptoms had some symptoms of stress urinary incontinence. 41% of women
with any UI symptoms had symptoms of stress urinary incontinence only.
Extrapolated to the U.S. female population, stress urinary incontinence
affects approximately 16 million U.S. women.