The Prevalence of Urinary Incontinence Among Community Dwelling Adult Women

Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Published in: The Journal of Urology, v. 175, no. 2, Feb. 2006, p. 601-604

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2006

by Jennifer T. Anger, Christopher S. Saigal, Mark Litwin

Read More

Access further information on this document at www.jurology.com

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

PURPOSE: Population based studies estimate that a large proportion of adult women report urinary incontinence. However, there is a wide range of estimates of the burden posed by UI. To measure the prevalence of incontinence in women in the community the analyzed data from women responding to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. MATERIALS AND METHODS: NHANES is a series of health and nutrition surveys performed by the National Center for Health Statistics. From 1999 to 2000 NHANES asked a national sample of community dwelling women, In the past 12 months, have you had difficulty controlling your bladder, including leaking small amounts of urine when you cough or sneeze (exclusive of pregnancy or recovery from childbirth)? Questionnaire results were recorded and analyzed with respect to demographic data including age, race and level of education. RESULTS: The overall prevalence of urinary incontinence in women was 38%. The prevalence of daily incontinence increased with age, ranging from 12.2% in women 60 to 64 years old to 20.9% in women 85 years old or older. Of women reporting any incontinence, 13.7% reported daily incontinence, and an additional 10.3% reported weekly incontinence. Prevalence was higher in non-Hispanic white women (41%) than in non-Hispanic black (20%) or Mexican-American women (36%). Women with less than a high school education were less likely to report incontinence than were those with at least a high school education. CONCLUSIONS: Unlike many other studies the NHANES draws a nationally representative sample of subjects in the community and, thus, provides prevalence data for urinary incontinence for all women in the United States. Prevalence is high, and varies with age, race/ethnicity and socioeconomic variables.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.