Health status, comorbidities and cost-of-illness in females with stress urinary incontinence living in the Canton of Bern

Z Evid Fortbild Qual Gesundhwes. 2020 Apr:150-152:73-79. doi: 10.1016/j.zefq.2020.02.002. Epub 2020 May 19.


Introduction: Two thirds of women suffering from stress urinary incontinence (SUI) reported a negative impact on quality of life (QoL). SUI can also lead to less physical activity and more comorbidities. SUI may result in a substantial economic burden on health care services but numbers are not clear. Therefore, the aim of this study was to estimate the health status, the comorbidities and the health costs of women with SUI living in the Canton of Bern (Switzerland).

Methods: This cost-of-illness (COI) study was embedded in an RCT (n=96) exploring the effect of two pelvic floor muscle training protocols in women with SUI. A prevalence-based COI study with a societal perspective and a bottom-up approach was applied. Baseline demographics, comorbidities and cost data were collected prospectively during 16 weeks. Descriptive statistics, a frequency and a one-way sensitivity analysis were performed.

Results: Thirty-seven participants volunteered in this COI study. About 95 % had at least one comorbidity. The most commonly reported problem was back pain (47.6 %). Fifty-one percent consulted a medical doctor, the prevalence of drug consumption was 70 %, 11 % reported less efficiency whilst working and 30 % less physical activity. Mental stress was mentioned by 59.5 % of the participants. The average health costs were CHF 2256.

Discussion: This COI study provided data on health status, comorbidities, QoL, health care use, productivity losses and costs of SUI. The high prevalence of comorbidities observed in this study was comparable to obese females of a similar age group. The high economic burden of SUI requires cost-effective preventive actions and clinical treatment concepts.

Keywords: Activity; Aktivität; Analysekosten; Analysis cost; Comorbidities; Komorbiditäten; Lebensqualität; Productivity; Produktivität; Quality of life.

MeSH terms

  • Comorbidity
  • Cost of Illness
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Switzerland
  • Urinary Incontinence, Stress / epidemiology*
  • Urinary Incontinence, Stress / therapy*