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Women with diabetes: understanding urinary incontinence and help seeking behavior

PURPOSE: We examined the association of urinary incontinence with diabetes status and race, and evaluated beliefs about help seeking for incontinence in a population based cohort of women with vs without diabetes. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional analysis of 2,270 middle-aged and older racially/ethnically diverse women in the Diabetes Reproductive Risk factors for Incontinence Study at Kaiser. Incontinence, help seeking behavior and beliefs were assessed by self-report questionnaires and in-person interviews. We compared incontinence characteristics in women with and without diabetes using univariate analysis and multivariate models. RESULTS: Women with diabetes reported weekly incontinence significantly more than women without diabetes (weekly 35.4% vs 25.7%, p <0.001). Race prevalence patterns were similar in women with and without diabetes with the most vs the least prevalence of incontinence in white and Latina vs black and Asian women. Of women with diabetes 42.2% discussed incontinence with a physician vs 55.5% without diabetes (p <0.003). Women with diabetes were more likely than those without diabetes to report the belief that incontinence is rare (17% vs 6%, p <0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Incontinence is highly prevalent in women with diabetes. Race prevalence patterns are similar in those with and without diabetes. Understanding help seeking behavior is important to ensure appropriate patient care. Physicians should be alert for urinary incontinence since it is often unrecognized and, thus, under treated in women with diabetes.

Authors: Doshi AM; Van Den Eeden SK; Morrill MY; Schembri M; Thom DH; Brown JS; Reproductive Risks for Incontinence Study at Kaiser Research Group

J Urol. 2010 Oct;184(4):1402-7. Epub 2010 Aug 19.

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