Urinary incontinence and its relationship to mental health and health-related quality of life in men and women in Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States

Eur Urol. 2012 Jan;61(1):88-95. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2011.07.049. Epub 2011 Jul 26.


Background: Differences in health burden associated with urinary incontinence (UI) subtypes have been previously described, but the majority of studies are in women. Additional research is needed to examine the prevalence and burden of UI subtype including postmicturition incontinence, nocturnal enuresis, coital incontinence, and incontinence for unspecified reasons.

Objective: Examine the burden of UI in men and women in Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Design, setting, and participants: Secondary analyses of the Epidemiology of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (EpiLUTS), a cross-sectional Internet survey, were performed. Participants who reported UI were categorized as (1) urgency urinary incontinence (UUI) only, (2) stress urinary incontinence (SUI) only, (3) mixed urinary incontinence (MUI), (4) UUI plus other incontinence (OI), (5) SUI plus OI, or (6) OI. Differences in health outcomes across UI groups were explored by gender using descriptive statistics and general linear models.

Measurements: Outcomes included treatment seeking for urinary symptoms, perception of bladder condition, depression, anxiety, and health-related quality of life (HRQL).

Results and limitations: Of 14 140 men and 15 860 women, 6479 men (45.8%) and 10 717 women (67.6%) reported UI. The most prevalent UI subgroups were OI in men and SUI in women. MUI and SUI plus OI had the greatest treatment seeking among men, whereas MUI and UUI plus OI had the greatest treatment seeking among women. Men with MUI had the highest rates of anxiety, followed by those with UUI plus OI and SUI plus OI, and OI with a similar trend observed for depression. Anxiety and depression were highest in SUI plus OI and MUI women. MUI and UUI plus OI men and women had significantly lower HRQL compared with other UI groups.

Conclusions: UI is common in men and women aged >40. Individuals with UUI combined with SUI or OI bear a greater mental health burden and report poorer HRQL.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Anxiety / physiopathology
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Cost of Illness
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / physiopathology
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Depression / therapy
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Perception
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Urinary Incontinence / epidemiology
  • Urinary Incontinence / physiopathology
  • Urinary Incontinence / psychology*
  • Urinary Incontinence / therapy