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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2001 May;184(6):1083-6.

A comparison of urinary incontinence among African American, Asian, Hispanic, and white women.

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  • 1University of California, San Francisco, and the Department of Obstetrics, San Francisco General Hospital, California, USA.



This study was undertaken to compare urodynamic findings and the rate of incontinence diagnoses among various ethnic groups.


Data were collected for all new patients referred to the urogynecology clinic during a 10-year period. One hundred ninety-five Hispanic, 95 white, 66 Asian, and 59 African American women had urodynamic testing and were included in the study. All women had a complete history, physical examination, and multichannel urodynamic studies. Demographic data, urodynamic data, and final diagnoses differences were analyzed.


African American women had higher maximum urethral closure pressures than Hispanic, white, or Asian women (58 cm H2O vs 47, 47, and 48 cm H2O; P =.001, P =.005, and P =.02). African American women were less likely to be diagnosed with genuine stress incontinence than were Hispanic or white women (42% vs 67% and 59%; P <.001 and P =.046). Detrusor instability was diagnosed more often in African American women than in Hispanic, white, or Asian women (29% vs 8%, 15%, and 14%; P <.001, P =.04, and P =.04).


African American women with urinary incontinence have different urodynamic diagnoses than Hispanic, white, or Asian women. Hispanic, white, and Asian women have similar rates of genuine stress incontinence. Although African American women have lower rates of genuine stress incontinence than Hispanic and white women, they have higher rates of detrusor instability than all 3 groups.

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