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Int Neurourol J. 2012 Jun;16(2):86-90. doi: 10.5213/inj.2012.16.2.86. Epub 2012 Jun 30.

Prevalence of stress urinary incontinence in women with multiple sclerosis.

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  • 1Cleveland Clinic Glickman Urological Institute, Cleveland, OH, USA.



The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of stress urinary incontinence (SUI) in women with multiple sclerosis (MS) and to what degree these women are bothered by their SUI, since there is a paucity of literature regarding the nature of SUI in this unique population of women.


We conducted a prospective Institutional Review Board approved study. Women scheduled for outpatient follow-up appointments at a dedicated MS center were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding urinary incontinence. Urgency urinary incontinence (UUI) and SUI were defined as an answer of slightly, moderately or greatly to the Urogenital Distress Inventory (UDI-6) question #2 and question #3, respectively. Impact of SUI on physical activity was determined by Incontinence Impact Questionnaire (IIQ-7) question #2.


A total of 55.9% (80/143) women had SUI, 70.6% (101/143) women had UUI, and 44.8% (64/143) women had mixed urinary incontinence. The mean age was 45.8 years old (range, 20 to 72 years). Women with SUI were significantly older (mean, 47.2 vs. 41.9; P=0.023) and there was a trend towards a greater body mass index (mean, 29.3 vs. 26.5; P=0.057). Women with SUI had significantly higher IIQ-7 scores compared to women without SUI (P<0.001). Impact of urinary incontinence on physical activity was also found to be significantly greater in women with SUI (mean IIQ-7 question #2, 0.96 vs. 0.35; P<0.001).


The prevalence of SUI in women with MS is 55.9% and the presence of SUI has a significant impact on their quality of life. A comprehensive urologic evaluation of a woman with MS should include assessment of SUI.


Multiple sclerosis; Prevalence; Quality of life; Stress urinary incontinence

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