The prevalence of urinary incontinence

Climacteric. 2019 Jun;22(3):217-222. doi: 10.1080/13697137.2018.1543263. Epub 2018 Dec 21.


The reported prevalence of urinary incontinence (UI) among women varies widely in different studies due to the use of different definitions, the heterogenicity of different study populations, and population sampling procedures. Population studies from numerous countries have reported that the prevalence of UI ranged from approximately 5% to 70%, with most studies reporting a prevalence of any UI in the range of 25-45%. Prevalence figures increase with increasing age, and in women aged ≥70 years more than 40% of the female population is affected. Prevalence rates are even higher in the elderly-elderly and amongst nursing home patients. There are only a few studies describing progression as well as remission of UI in the general population as well as in selected groups of the population. The mean annual incidence of UI has been reported to range from 1% to 9%, while estimates of remission are more varying, from 4% to 30%. The prevalence of UI is strongly related to the age of the woman and thus, due to the increase in mean life expectancy, the overall prevalence of UI in women is expected to increase in the future.

Keywords: Urinary incontinence; epidemiology; incidence; prevalence; risk factors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Prevalence
  • Urinary Incontinence / epidemiology*
  • Urinary Incontinence / etiology