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Eur Urol. 2014 Jan;65(1):79-95. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2013.08.031. Epub 2013 Aug 27.

Global prevalence and economic burden of urgency urinary incontinence: a systematic review.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden. Electronic address:



The prevalence and economic burden of urgency urinary incontinence (UUI) are difficult to ascertain because of overlap with data on overactive bladder and other types of incontinence.


To summarize the evidence on the global prevalence and economic burden of UUI.


A PubMed search was performed used the following terms: (urgency urinary incontinence OR urge incontinence OR mixed incontinence OR overactive bladder) AND (burden OR cost OR economic OR prevalence). A similar search was conducted using Embase. English-language articles published from 1991 through 2013 on non-neurogenic UUI were retained.


We retained 54 articles (50 studies); 22 large-scale, population-based surveys indicated varying UUI prevalence estimates with ranges of 1.8-30.5% in European populations, 1.7-36.4% in US populations, and 1.5-15.2% in Asian populations, with prevalence dependent on age and gender. Nineteen smaller-scale studies supported these findings. Despite varying methods, 11 studies estimating the costs of UUI worldwide consistently concluded that the economic burden is substantial and will increase markedly as the population ages. In a 2005 multinational study, the annual cost-of-illness estimate for UUI in Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom was €7 billion. A US cost-of-illness study reported a total cost of $66 billion in 2007 US dollars. The costs of routine care and nursing home admissions for UUI were major contributors to the cost.


UUI affects millions of men and women worldwide. Current evidence demonstrates the substantial economic burden of UUI to patients and society. Worldwide public health and clinical management programs are needed to improve UUI awareness and highlight the need for early diagnosis and management.


Costs; Epidemiology; Health economics; Prevalence; Urgency urinary incontinence

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