To determine the prevalence of female urinary incontinence (Ul) and its impact on quality of life.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS
In a Dutch national postal questionnaire survey, 1460 spouses of 1771 men in the town of Boxmeer, age-stratified and randomly selected, were asked to participate. The prevalence of Ul in the women was assessed in two ways. First, a total score on a short Ul-specific questionnaire differentiated them into three groups, i.e. no symptoms (score 0-2), minimally (3-6) or severely incontinent (7-14). Second, a self-reported Ul prevalence was calculated by asking respondents if they ever had urine loss. To conform to the International Continence Society standard definition, spouses were also asked to complete a general (Short Form-12) and lower urinary tract disease-specific quality-of-life questionnaire, and were asked about their need to seek
The questionnaires were returned by 1071 women (mean age 57 years, range 29-79; response rate 73%); 34% were regarded as minimally and 12% as severely incontinent. The self-reported Ul rate was 40%. Disease-specific and general quality of life was significantly lower for women with Ul than for those with minimal or no urine loss; 38% of incontinent respondents had consulted a physician for their Ul, and among respondents with minimal complaints this was 28%.
Up to 46% of the married female population had some degree of Ul, and severe Ul significantly compromised their quality of life.
- urinary incontinence
- quality of life
- SEVERITY INDEX
- EPIDEMIOLOGIC SURVEY