Objective: Numerous studies have identified a reduced health-related quality of life (QoL) in patients with urinary incontinence (UI). The aim of this study was to assess and compare QoL in women with UI in the island of Crete, Greece, and in Turkey.
Methods: Incontinent women from two community-based primary health care (PHC) groups (Greece and Turkey) and one outpatient clinic-based group were studied.
Results: A total of 231 (24.7%) women out of 932 women from the PHC group in Greece and Turkey reported UI whereas another 38 incontinent women visited the secondary care outpatient clinic. Mean Incontinence Quality of Life questionnaire (I-QoL) total score of women visiting PHC centers was 73.8 (SD = 23.5). There was significant difference among the three groups regarding I-QoL total and subscale scores, with women from the Greek community-based group having the highest score (mean = 81.8, SD = 20.7, P < 0.001). Impaired QoL was significantly associated with severity (P < 0.001), incontinence type (P = 0.026), seeking secondary care, and Turkey as sample setting (P < 0.001).
Conclusion: Urinary incontinence is a frequent problem for women visiting PHC centers, affecting negatively their quality of life. Besides incontinence severity, Turkey as place of residence emerged as another essential predictor of impaired quality of life, suggesting that other social and cultural factors may also play an important role.