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J Urol. 2010 Oct;184(4):1394-401. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2010.05.095. Epub 2010 Aug 19.

Incidence of and risk factors for change in urinary incontinence status in a prospective cohort of middle-aged and older women: the reproductive risk of incontinence study in Kaiser.

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  • 1Department of Family and Community Medicine, San Francisco General Hospital, University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94110, USA.



Urinary incontinence is a dynamic condition that can progress and regress but few groups have examined risk factors for change in incontinence status.


We used stratified random sampling to construct a racially and ethnically diverse, population based cohort of 2,109 women 40 to 69 years old. Data were collected by questionnaires and medical record review. A second survey approximately 5 years later was completed by 1,413 women (67%) from the original cohort. The frequency of urinary incontinence was categorized as less than weekly, weekly and daily. Change in incontinence status was defined as new onset incontinence, incontinence progression or regression between frequency categories and resolution of incontinence. Predictor variables were demographics, body mass index and other medical conditions. We used logistic regression to estimate the adjusted OR and 95% CI.


Compared to white nonHispanic women, black women were less likely to have incontinence progression (OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.24-0.88). New onset incontinence was more common in women with a higher body mass index at baseline (p = 0.006) and those who experienced increased body mass index (p = 0.03) or decreased general health (p = 0.007) during the study. Participants with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder at baseline were more likely to report incontinence progression (OR 2.64, 95% CI 1.22-5.70). Baseline incontinence type was not significantly associated with the risk of change in continence status independent of frequency.


Identifying risk factors for change in incontinence status may be important to develop interventions to decrease the burden of incontinence in the general population.

Copyright © 2010 American Urological Association Education and Research, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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