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J Aging Health. 2008 Jun;20(4):405-19. doi: 10.1177/0898264308315853. Epub 2008 Mar 27.

Urinary incontinence and self-reported health among the U.S. Medicare managed care beneficiaries.

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Buehler Center on Aging, Health & Society, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, 750 N. Lake Shore Drive, Suite 601, Chicago, Ill. 60611, USA.



To examine the prevalence and management of urinary incontinence (UI) and their impact on self-reported health in the U.S. Medicare managed care beneficiaries.


Data were from the 2003 Medicare Health Outcomes Survey Cohort VI Baseline. Only beneficiaries aged 65 years or older and who self-completed the telephone interview were included.


About 37% of the study sample (N = 82,196) reported having accidental urine leakage (the UI group). A total of 75% of the UI group indicated UI's being a problem and 41% of them had spoken with a doctor about it. Of these, 50% had received treatment. The findings indicate the UI group generally had significantly worse SF-36 Survey Scale scores than the non-UI group with and without adjusting other covariates.


UI is prevalent but undertreated as it adversely affects many health domains in this population. This study highlights the need for early detection, proper education, and access to effective treatment options for UI in the elderly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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