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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Georgia State Researcher Studies Link Between Urinary Incontinence, Chronic Disease

A majority of women with urinary incontinence may also have other underlying chronic health problems, such as heart disease and asthma, according to a recent study co-authored by a researcher from the Georgia State University School of Public Health.

Urinary incontinence affects roughly one-third of women, and many of the drugs that treat urinary incontinence could damage cognition and have low rates of adherence over time, the study noted.

“Thus, the recent emphasis on possible prevention and on the identification of women who may benefit from early intervention to prevent worsening of bladder symptoms and severity is important,” the researchers said.

To identify which common chronic medical conditions were most prevalent among women with urinary incontinence, the research team used data from 3,800 participants, gathered from the 2005-2006 and 2011-2012 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Researchers were able to categorize 89 percent of the participants into one of four clusters:

Only 11 percent of the women with urinary incontinence in the study had no chronic conditions. They were also more likely to be young, Mexican-American, have lower than average body mass index measurements, and have only one pregnancy, the study also found.

The study’s results are published in BJU International in the article titled “Cluster analysis of multiple chronic conditions associated with urinary incontinence among women in the USA.” Its authors are Dr. Ike Okosun, associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Georgia State; Drs. Alayne D. Markland, Patricia S. Goode and Kathryn L. Burgio with the Department of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham; and Drs. Camille Vaughan and Theodore Johnson II with the Emory University School of Medicine. Several of the researchers also are affiliated with the Birmingham/Atlanta VA Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center.