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J Urol. 2006 Jan;175(1):259-64.

Differences in prevalence of urinary incontinence by race/ethnicity.

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  • 1Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, USA.



We compared the prevalence of urinary incontinence by type among white, black, Hispanic and Asian-American women.


The RRISK is a population based cohort study of 2,109 randomly selected middle-aged and older women. Incontinence and other variables were assessed by self-report questionnaires and in person interviews. Labor and delivery and surgical data were abstracted from medical records archived since 1946. Logistic regression was used to estimate the OR with 95% CIs for incontinence while adjusting for covariates.


The age adjusted prevalence of weekly incontinence was highest among Hispanic women, followed by white, black and Asian-American women (36%, 30%, 25% and 19%, respectively, p <0.001). Type of incontinence also differed among groups, with weekly stress incontinence prevalence being 18%, 15%, 8% and 8% (p <0.001), and weekly urge incontinence prevalence being 10%, 9%, 14% and 7% (p <0.001). After adjustment for age, parity, hysterectomy, estrogen use, body mass, menopausal status and diabetes, the risk of stress incontinence remained significantly lower in black (adjusted OR 0.36, 95% CI 0.23-0.57) and Asian-American (adjusted OR 0.54, 95% CI 0.34-0.86) women compared to white women. In contrast, the risk of urge incontinence was similar in black (adjusted OR 1.19, 95% CI 0.79-1.81) and Asian-American (adjusted OR 0.86, 95% CI 0.52-1.43) women compared to white women.


Significant differences in the adjusted risk of stress incontinence among Hispanic, white, black and Asian-American women suggest the presence of additional, as yet unrecognized, risk or protective factors for stress incontinence.

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