Urinary Incontinence Causes Negative Outlook of Overall Health

Author: J. Graham Swanson
Date: March 15, 2001

(28th Annual Meeting of the North American Primary Care Research Group) According to results of a family-practice-based survey of women at least 45 years of age, women who are incontinent perceive themselves as having poorer overall health and becoming sick more easily and more often than do women of similar age and personal factors. A questionnaire was sent to 1,040 women in two family practice teaching units in Hamilton, Canada to assess the effect of urinary incontinence on their daily lives and their attitudes toward their health. The response rate to the survey was 72.6 percent; within the first 565 replies there were 260 women who were affected with urinary incontinence and 226 women who were not. Women in the two groups were similar in age (mean age: 63.8 years), marital status, whether they had given birth, level of education attained and country of origin. They also had similar rates of heart disease, asthma, elevated blood pressure and diabetes. Women with incontinence were significantly more likely to have headaches, constipation, swollen ankles and coughing. Although caffeine is considered to be a factor in incontinence, there was no difference among the two groups in the consumption of caffeine-containing beverages, smoking or alcohol use.--J. GRAHAM SWANSON, M.D., M.SC., C.C.F.P., ET AL., McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

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