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Neurourol Urodyn. 2012 Apr;31(4):470-4. doi: 10.1002/nau.22235. Epub 2012 Feb 29.

Predictors of care seeking in women with urinary incontinence.

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Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.



To determine predictors of health care utilization in women with urinary incontinence (UI) from the population to specialty care.


The General Longitudinal Overactive Bladder Evaluation-UI is a population-based study on the natural history of UI in women ≥40 years of age. Prevalence of UI was estimated using the Bladder Health Survey (BHS). Survey data were linked with electronic health records (EHRs) to examine factors associated with a clinical UI diagnosis using logistic regression. Risk factors analyzed included: UI symptoms, subtypes, bother, severity, duration, and effect on quality of life, and demographic and other health characteristics. All statistical tests were two-sided with a P-value < 0.05 being significant.


The overall prevalence of any UI based on responses to the BHS was 1,618/4,064 (40%). Of the 1,618 women with UI, there were only 398 (25%) women with EHR (clinical) diagnosis of UI. Women with UI versus those without UI were more likely to be have a BMI >25 kg/m(2) (70% vs. 58%), more likely to be parous (91% vs. 87%) and college educated (54% vs. 46%), P < 0.001. After adjusting for confounders in the model, variables significantly associated with clinical UI diagnosis included: older age (OR = 1.96), higher parity (> 1 birth) (OR = 1.76), higher urgency UI (OR = 1.08), adaptive behavior (OR = 1.2), and UI bother scores (OR = 1.01), as well as more frequent outpatient visits (OR = 1.03), P < 0.05.


UI is a highly prevalent condition with only a minority of women seeking care. Factors associated with health care utilization include older age, parity (1+), number of doctor visits, urgency UI subtype, UI bother, and impact on behavior.

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