Quality of life impact and treatment seeking of Chinese women with urinary incontinence

Qual Life Res. 2003 May;12(3):327-33. doi: 10.1023/a:1023250632395.


The objective of this study was to investigate the quality of life (QOL) impact of urinary incontinence (UI) and to examine its relationship with treatment seeking in adult Taiwanese women. We conducted a cross-section in-person questionnaire interview of 1608 adult women living in the Taipei area. The characteristics and incontinence status were recorded. A short form incontinence impact questionnaire (IIQ-7) was used to evaluate the QOL impact of UI. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to assess the determinative factors for treatment seeking. The mean IIQ-7 score of the 205 (12.7%) women who reported urinary leakage more than once per month in the preceding 12 months was 5.0 (range: 0-19), which showed a significant correlation with the severity of incontinence (r = 0.59, p < 0.001). Women with mixed type UI had a higher IIQ-7 score compared to those with stress or urge UI. Fifty-five (26.8%) incontinent women had sought medical help. Treatment seeking was highly related to IIQ-7 scores as 75% of incontinent women with an IIQ-7 score > 10 in contrast to 5% of those with an IIQ-7 score < or = 3 (p < 0.001) had sought medical care. On multiple logistic regression analysis, perceiving UI as a disease and a higher IIQ-7 score were independent factors predicting treatment seeking. We concluded that UI is a common problem that brings substantial QOL impact to Taiwanese women. The IIQ-7 questionnaire may provide a useful measurement to quantitate the degree of QOL impact, which is largely affected by the severity and type of incontinence. Women who perceive UI as a disease and those with a higher degree of QOL impact are more likely to seek medical help. Furthermore, treatment seeking in Taiwanese women with significant UI may be more common than thought as a great majority of women with higher IIQ-7 scores had sought medical help.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • China / ethnology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / ethnology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Self-Assessment*
  • Sickness Impact Profile*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taiwan
  • Urinary Incontinence / ethnology
  • Urinary Incontinence / psychology*
  • Urinary Incontinence / therapy
  • Women's Health