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Rev Mal Respir. 2009 May;26(5):499-504.

[Urinary incontinence due to chronic cough in interstitial lung disease].

[Article in French]

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Service de Pneumologie, Centre de référence des maladies pulmonaires rares, Hôpital cardiovasculaire et pneumologique Louis Pradel, Lyon, France.



Urinary stress incontinence affects 10% to 30% of the female population and may have a major impact on psychosocial health. In interstitial lung disease, chronic cough may lead to development of urinary incontinence, but the prevalence and impact of this symptom are unknown.


To determine the rate and impact of urinary stress incontinence among women with chronic cough due to interstitial lung disease.


28 female patients with chronic cough secondary to interstitial lung disease and 15 controls were evaluated by questionnaires to determine the prevalence of cough-related urinary incontinence, its severity, and its impact on quality of life.


Cough-related urinary incontinence was present in 14/28 patients with interstitial lung disease and chronic cough (50%), but in only 1/15 controls (7%, p=0.005). On a 5-points quality of life scale, the median impact of urinary incontinence was 3 (minimum=1, maximal=5), and the median impact of chronic cough was 3.5. The majority of patients (64%) believed that incontinence was a natural phenomenon due to ageing, all were ashamed by this symptom and 79% were unable to mention it to their caring physician. Only one physician had previously addressed this issue.


Cough-related urinary incontinence is common in patients with interstitial lung disease and is largely overlooked. It may significantly alter quality of life. A systematic questioning by the physician would allow to promptly refer these patients for appropriate therapeutic interventions, such as perineal training.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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