Which patient groups have the highest prevalence of urinary incontinence?

Updated: Mar 19, 2019
  • Author: Sandip P Vasavada, MD; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Age is the single largest risk factor for urinary incontinence, although at any age, urinary incontinence is more than 2 times more common in females than in males. Urinary incontinence affects up to 7% of children older than 5 years, 10-35% of adults, and 50-84% of the elderly persons in long-term care facilities. [1]

In a cross-sectional analysis of women who participated in the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), Nygaard et al demonstrated that the prevalence of urinary incontinence increased with age, but reported a lower overall prevalence than other researchers. The prevalence was 6.9% in women aged 20-39 years, 17.2% in those aged 40-59 years, 23.3% in those aged 60-79 years, and 31.7% in women older than 80 years. [41]

An age-related pattern also appears in the predominant type of urinary incontinence experienced. In general, studies have shown that stress urinary incontinence tends to be more common in women younger than 65 years, while urge urinary incontinence and mixed urinary incontinence is more common in women older than 65 years.

Stress incontinence affects 15-60% of women—both young and old individuals. More than 25% of nulliparous young college athletes experience stress incontinence when participating in sports.


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