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Urinary Incontinence Common in Women Over 50 Years

Poll finds that few women report talking to their physician about urinary leakage

Please note: This article was published more than one year ago. The facts and conclusions presented may have since changed and may no longer be accurate. And "More information" links may no longer work. Questions about personal health should always be referred to a physician or other health care professional.

FRIDAY, Nov. 9, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly half of women older than 50 years report having urinary incontinence, according to the results of the National Poll on Healthy Aging, published on Nov. 1.

The University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation conducted the poll of 1,027 women aged 50 to 80 years; the poll was sponsored by AARP and Michigan Medicine.

The poll showed that nearly half of older women (46 percent) reported urinary incontinence in the previous year (43 percent aged 50 to 64 years and 51 percent aged 65 to 80 years). Four in 10 (41 percent) described their leakage as either a major problem or somewhat of a problem, with nearly one-third (31 percent) having almost daily leakage, especially when coughing/sneezing (79 percent), trying to get to a bathroom (64 percent), laughing (49 percent), and exercising (37 percent). Nearly 60 percent of women with urinary incontinence reported using pads or protective undergarments, while 16 percent reported limiting fluid intake. Only one-third of women (34 percent) reported talking to their doctor about urinary leakage.

"Urinary incontinence is a common condition that may not be routinely screened for in primary care, yet it can impact a woman's quality of life and health, and is usually treatable," Carolyn Swenson, M.D., a urogynecologist at Michigan Medicine who was involved in the survey, said in a statement. "It's not an inevitable part of aging and shouldn't be overlooked."

National Poll on Healthy Aging

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