Prevalence of urinary incontinence in young and middle-aged women in an Italian urban area

Salvatore Siracusano, Roberto Pregazzi, Gianluca D'Aloia, Andrea Sartore, Paolo Di Benedetto, Valentina Pecorari, Secondo Guaschino, Giovanni Pappagallo, Emanuele Belgrano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To investigate by questionnaire the prevalence and characteristics of urinary incontinence (UI) in a female population aged between 18 and 49. Study design: Of 44,095 females aged 18-49.9 living in our urban area a sample of 10,000 subjects was sent a questionnaire and 3557 replied. The age-based analysis was performed on 2900 of these. Results: The overall prevalence of UI was 20%. 11% had suffered from nocturnal enuresis before 18 years old, 47% of parous women noted a relationship between the beginning of UI and delivery. Among the incontinent women 83% lost urine with physical exertion, and 44% had urge incontinence, 18% used diapers, 20% had consulted a physician and half of these had been referred for medical, surgical or rehabilitative therapy, 50% reported past or present urinary infections, 8% complained also of faecal incontinence, 22% considered loss of urine embarrassing and humiliating but only 6% revealed frustration and 2% were obliged to stay at home for long periods of time. Of the incontinents 62% defined themselves anxious or nervous and 22% of these ascribed an increase of urinary leakage to anxiety or to nervousness, 9% reported use of antidepressant drugs, 85% had sexual intercourse and only 2% considered UI as an impediment to a satisfying sexual activity. Conclusions: UI is a common problem in young women. Urge incontinence seems to be prevalent in

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-204
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 25 2003


  • Epidemiology
  • Female urinary incontinence
  • Reproductive age

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Reproductive Medicine


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