OBJECTIVE: A large observational study was conducted to assess the frequency of urinary incontinence (UI) and overactive bladder (OAB) and to describe the diagnostic and therapeutic approach in General Medical Practice in Italy. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Subjects eligible for the study were men aged > 50 years and women aged > 40 years, observed consecutively by their own General Practitioner (GP) for a check-up or medical prescription examination during the recruitment period, who agreed to participate in the study. All the subjects included in the study were interviewed by their GP using a common questionnaire that included information about their general characteristics and a specific medical history. The subject was also asked: "Have you had involuntary loss of urine during the last 3 months?"; "Do you urinate more than 8 times a day on average and/or Do you have to get up more than once a night?"; "Have you urgency problems?". If the subject answered yes to the first question or to both the second and third, a urinary problem was diagnosed, in particular UI if the anser was yes to the first and OAB if to the second and third. In these subjects the interview was continued in order to define the type of UI, using the diagnostic flow chart proposed by Wean. RESULTS: On the whole, 9613 men (average age 64.8, range 50-98) and 13,365 women (average age 60.3 years, range 40-98) were interviewed by 774 GPs. A diagnosis of urinary problems was made in 1084 men (11.3%) and 1507 women (11.3%). Among the men the GP was already aware of the condition in 603 cases (55.6%) and a new diagnosis was made in 481 cases (44.4%). The corresponding figures for women were 560 (37.2%) and 947 (62.8%). The proportion of new diagnosis out of all the subjects with micturition problems tended to be greater in the younger age (chi square for trend p <0.05). The presence of OAB without UI was found in 3.0% [95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.7-3.5] of the men and 1.1% (95% CI 0.9-1.3) of the women. Over all, 8.3% (95% CI 7.7-8.9) of the men and 10.2% (95% CI 9.6-10.8) of the women reported UI. The frequency of OAB and UI conditions increased with age in both men and women. On the whole, a urine test was requested in 71.9% of the subjects with a new diagnosis of UI or OAB and the frequency of haematuria was equal to 15.7% of the cases, without marked differences by type of diagnosis of micturition problem. A urine culture was done in 60.7% of the cases and was positive in 17.7%. Further diagnostic investigations were prescribed in the majority of cases, 76.6%. This was observed in particular among the men (86.2% of the cases compared to 71.7% of the women) but with no substantial differences between the different diagnoses of UI. Pharmacological treatment was suggested to 68% of the men and 44.9% of the women. The condition for which pharmacological treatment was less often prescribed was stress UI, where it was suggested in 54.5% of the men and 27.3% of the women. For men, alpha-lytics were the drugs most often prescribed for all urinary problems, regardless of the type. For women, anticholinergics were the most commonly advised type of drug, followed by anti-infectives.
|Translated title of the contribution||Urinary incontinence: frequency and diagnostic and therapeutic approach in general practice in Italy|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Archivio Italiano di Urologia e Andrologia|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2001|
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