Prevalence of and risk factors for urine leakage in a racially and ethnically diverse population of adults: the Boston Area Community Health (BACH) Survey

Am J Epidemiol. 2008 Feb 15;167(4):390-9. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwm356. Epub 2008 Jan 7.


Most epidemiologic studies of urine leakage in the United States report on women and White populations. In this study, the authors determined the prevalence of urine leakage across genders and racial/ethnic groups in a population-based sample of 5,506 adults aged 30-79 years and identified factors related to leakage within genders and racial/ethnic groups. The prevalence of weekly urine leakage was 8% overall, 10.4% in women, and 5.3% in men. White women (11.7%) were more likely than Black (9.4%) and Hispanic (7.3%) women to report weekly leakage and to report stress-type (35.4% vs. 9.4% and 14.5%, respectively) and urge-type (13.4% vs. 3.3% and 10.8%, respectively) leakage. Rates and leakage types for men did not vary by race/ethnicity. For women, central obesity, asthma, and arthritis increased the odds of weekly leakage. For men, the odds of leakage increased for Blacks and Whites at ages 50 and 60 years, respectively, and for Hispanics of higher social class. For both genders, various comorbid conditions, including heart disease, asthma, and depression, increased the odds of leakage in varying racial/ethnic groups. The authors conclude that types of and risk factors for urine leakage vary by gender and racial/ethnic group.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Arthritis / complications
  • Asthma / complications
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Boston / epidemiology
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Depression / complications
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Heart Diseases / complications
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urinary Incontinence / epidemiology*
  • Urinary Incontinence / ethnology
  • Urinary Incontinence / etiology*
  • White People / statistics & numerical data*