The prevalence of urinary incontinence in women in four European countries.

Section for General Practice, Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care, University of Bergen, Norway.
BJU International (Impact Factor: 3.13). 03/2004; 93(3):324-30. DOI: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2003.04609.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To determine the prevalence, type and treatment behaviour of women with urinary incontinence in four European countries.
Data were collected using a postal survey which was sent to 29,500 community-dwelling women aged > or = 18 years in France, Germany, Spain and the UK. Subjects were asked about the type of urinary incontinence they had experienced and their treatment behaviour.
Of the women who responded, 35% reported involuntary loss of urine in the preceding 30 days; stress urinary incontinence was the most prevalent type. The lowest prevalence was in Spain (23%), while the prevalence was 44%, 41% and 42% for France, Germany and the UK, respectively. About a quarter of women with urinary incontinence in Spain (24%) and the UK (25%) had consulted a doctor about it; in France (33%) and Germany (40%) the percentages were higher. Overall, <5% of the women had ever undergone surgery for their condition. While pads were used by half of the women, there were some differences among the countries.
Millions of women in Europe have urinary incontinence; the consultation and treatment rates were low in the European countries included in this study.

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