Health care discussions and treatment for urinary incontinence in U.S. women


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Abstract

ObjectiveThe objective of the study was to determine the proportions of women with urinary incontinence who had discussed their condition with a health care provider or received treatment and to identify factors associated with seeking health care.Study designThe study was a population-based, age-stratified postal survey of 6000 women aged 30 to 90 years enrolled in a large health maintenance organization in Washington state.ResultsThe response rate was 64% (n = 3536) after applying exclusion criteria. Eighty percent (n = 1160) of women with urinary incontinence completed a detailed set of questions on care seeking and treatments. Fifty percent had discussed their incontinence with a health care provider, 21% reported receiving surgery or prescription medication, 10% reported performing Kegel exercises, and 48% reported wearing a pad to absorb urine daily or weekly. The following factors were significantly associated with odds of discussing urinary incontinence with a health care provider: age (50 to 69 years, adjusted odds ratio 1.5 [1.1 to 2.0]; 70 to 89 years, adjusted odds ratio 1.9 [1.4, 2.7]); duration of urinary incontinence (2 to 5 years, adjusted odds ratio 1.9 [1.3 to 2.8]; more than 5 years, adjusted odds ratio 2.8 [2.0,4.1]); severe urinary incontinence (adjusted odds ratio 1.7 [1.2 to 2.6]); and greater effect on daily activities (adjusted odds ratio 2.7 [1.9,3.8]).ConclusionAmong women with urinary incontinence, one half have discussed their incontinence with a health care provider and one third have received any form of treatment.

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