Objective: To determine whether urinary incontinence per se and different types of urinary incontinence individually are associated with an increased risk of falls in those aged 70 years and over. To investigate whether the presence of urinary symptoms, poor quality of life and physical limitations in this population with urinary incontinence is associated with falls.
Design: Study using data from the cross-sectional postal questionnaire undertaken in the Leicestershire Medical Research Council Incontinence Study.
Participants: A total of 5,474 people aged 70 years or more living in the community randomly selected from general practitioners' lists.
Results: Urinary incontinence and both urge and stress incontinence were positively related to falls (P < 0.0001, P < 0.001 and P = 0.007, respectively). The larger the volume of urine lost, the greater the risk of falls (P < 0.0001). Falls were associated with the presence of urinary symptoms (P = 0.01 or less), physical limitations (P = 0.001 or less) and having a poorer quality of life (P = 0.004 or less) in respondents with urinary incontinence.
Conclusions: An association has been shown between falling and urinary leakage including the previously unreported association with stress leakage. Falling and urinary incontinence were found to be associated with physical limitations and had an impact on quality of life.