Stress Urinary Incontinence in Women: Diagnosis and Medical Management

Mark Deutchman, MDMedical Writer: Meghan Wulster-Radcliffe, PhD

In This Article


Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is defined as involuntary leakage on exertion or on sneezing or coughing.[1] SUI affects approximately 13 million people in the United States alone and is much more prevalent in women than in men.[2] Overall, 30% of women will develop SUI within 5 years after their first vaginal delivery.[3] SUI is associated with significant social and financial costs. The social costs include personal embarrassment and curtailment of daily activities that may cause urine leakage. SUI is associated with depression, particularly in the elderly and in patients with an urge component.[4,5,6] The annual financial cost associated with urinary incontinence in the United States was estimated to be $16.3 billion in 1995.[7] The cost of incontinence pads and undergarments are borne directly by patients as they are usually not covered by health insurance plans.


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