Prevalence of Urinary Incontinence among a Nationally Representative Sample of Women, 2005-2016: Findings from the Urologic Diseases in America Project

Una J. Lee, Lydia Feinstein, Julia B. Ward, Ziya Kirkali, Erline E. Martinez-Miller, Brian R. Matlaga, Kathleen C. Kobashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Purpose:Urinary incontinence is frequently underreported and underdiagnosed in the clinical setting. We analyzed 12 years of data from a large, nationally representative sample of women in the United States to assess the prevalence, severity, and daily impact of urinary incontinence and its subtypes at the population level.Materials and Methods:We analyzed data from 15,003 women aged ≥20 years who participated in the 2005-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. We estimated the prevalence of urinary incontinence in the prior year, overall and by subtype (stress, urgency or mixed). Among women with urinary incontinence, we additionally assessed symptom severity using the validated 4-level Incontinence Severity Index, as well as impact on daily activities.Results:The 2005-2016 prevalence of any urinary incontinence was 53%; 16% of women had mixed urinary incontinence, 26% had stress only and 10% had urgency only. While urgency urinary incontinence and mixed urinary incontinence were highest among women aged ≥60 years, stress urinary incontinence was highest among women aged 40-59 years. NonHispanic Black women had higher prevalence of urgency urinary incontinence and lower prevalence of stress urinary incontinence compared to other racial/ethnic groups. Of women with urinary incontinence, 30% reported moderate or severe symptoms, which were more common among older than younger women. In addition, 24% of women with urinary incontinence reported that the condition affected their daily activities.Conclusions:Our study demonstrates a high prevalence of urinary incontinence among a nationally representative population of women in the United States, with many reporting that urinary incontinence affected their daily activities. Age and racial/ethnic trends varied by urinary incontinence subtype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1718-1724
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021


  • epidemiology
  • lower urinary tract symptoms
  • prevalence
  • urinary incontinence
  • women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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