Health Questions and Answers

Question: How common is urinary incontinence?

Answer:

The frequency of insignificant loss of urine is quite common in women of all ages. However, the frequency of urine loss of a sufficient magnitude to produce social compromise or health problems is found in 10-30% of community-dwelling elderly, with a lower frequency in men. Surveys of elderly nursing home residents have reported urinary incontinence in 50% of inhabitants. The very high frequency found in institutionalized populations is primarily due to other chronic conditions, but it sometimes results from the use of physical restraints or medications.

Reference: Gallo JJ, et al (eds): Reichel’s Care of the Elderly, 5th ed. Philadelphia, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 1999.

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