Objectives: The aim was to assess the prevalence of any urinary leakage in an unselected female population in Norway, and to estimate the prevalence of significant incontinence.
Methods: The EPINCONT Study is part of a large survey (HUNT 2) performed in a county in Norway during 1995-97. Everyone aged 20 years or more was invited. 27,936 (80%) of 34,755 community-dwelling women answered a questionnaire. A validated severity index was used to assess severity.
Results: Twenty-five percent of the participating women had urinary leakage. Nearly 7% had significant incontinence, defined as moderate or severe incontinence that was experienced as bothersome. The prevalence of incontinence increased with increasing age. Half of the incontinence was of stress type, 11% had urge and 36% mixed incontinence.
Conclusions: Urinary leakage is highly prevalent. Seven percent have significant incontinence and should be regarded as potential patients.