To determine the prevalence of stress, urge, and mixed urinary incontinence and associated risk factors in postmenopausal women.
Before enrollment in a 4-year, randomized trial of combination hormone therapy to prevent coronary heart disease, 2763 participants completed questionnaires on prevalence and type of incontinence. We measured factors potentially associated with incontinence including demographics, reproductive and medical histories, height, weight, and waist-to-hip circumference ratio. We used multivariate logistic models to determine independent associations between those factors and weekly incontinence by type.
The mean (± standard deviation [SD]) age of the participants was 67 ± 7 years; 89% were white and 8% were black. Fifty-six percent reported weekly incontinence. In multivariate analyses, the prevalence of weekly stress incontinence was higher in white than black women (odds ratio [OR] 2.8, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.6, 5.1), in women with higher body-mass index (BMI) (OR 1.1 per 5 units, 95% CI 1.0, 1.3), and higher waist-to-hip ratio (OR 1.2 per 0.1 unit, 95% CI 1.0, 1.4). The prevalence of weekly urge incontinence was higher in older women (OR 1.2 per 5 years, 95% CI 1.1, 1.3), diabetic women (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.1, 2.0) and women who had reported two or more urinary tract infections in the prior year (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.1, 3.6).
Stress and urge incontinence are common in postmenopausal women and have different risk factors, suggesting that approaches to risk-factor modification and prevention also might differ and should be specific to types of incontinence.