Turkish Journal of Geriatrics 2000 , Vol 3, Issue 2
Ümit ATEŞKAN, Mehmet Refik MAS, Hüseyin DORUK, Mustafa KUTLU
Gülhane Askeri Tıp Akademisi ve Tıp Fakültesi, Geriatri Bilim Dalı-Ankara Although urinary incontinence (UI) is a common problem for older adults, there has been no reported study about UI in the elderly population of Turkey. Our objective for this study was to estimate the prevalence, severity and symptom-based clinical types and also examine the help-seeking behavior of the incontinent subjects identified. 2000 people over age of 65 (1276 female, 724 male) admitted to GATA outpatient units (Department of Internal Medicine and Division of Geriatrics as the majority) for follow-up from December 1998 to November 1999 were studied. All subjects were interviewed to assess the presence of UI, the frequency of leakage and health-care seeking measures for urinary symptoms. The overall prevalence of UI was 44.2%. UI was more prevalent in women than in men (57.1%, 21.5% respectively; OR=1.7, 95% CI=1.6,1.8) Among the incontinent men, urge incontinence was the most common type (56.4%), while most women had mixed symptoms (70.1%).12.6% of women and 10.3% of men with incontinence had sought care for urinary symptoms. There was no significant difference in care-seeking behavior between both sexes (X'=0.68, p=0.41; OR=1.26, 95% CI= 0.72, 2.22). Moderate or severe UI was significantly associated with having consulted a physician for urinary symptoms (OR=10.4, 95% CI=5.0, 21.6). In conclusion, UI is a prevalent condition among Turkish older people living in the community. Despite its prevalence, care-seeking for this problem is very low even among women for whom the prevalence exceeds 50%. These findings suggest that strategies to promote health-care seeking for UI (brochures related to UI, community education programs etc) need to be investigated and employed in the community. Keywords : Urinary, Incontinence, Elderly, Prevalence, Health-care seeking, Epidemiology