PREVALENCE OF URINARY INCONTINENCE IN YOUNG CHILEAN WOMEN
CASTRO, F. ROZAS, G. MARTINEZ, M. F. SOTO, C. MANRIQUEZ;
Departamento de Obstetricia y Ginecologia, Univ. de Concepcion, Concepcion, Chile.
Introduction: Urinary incontinence is defined as the involuntary release of urine due to diverse stimuli, with the most common reason in adult women being physical effort. Depending on the studied group, prevalence ranges from 10% to 90%, and it is estimated that 25% of adult women have some kind of urinary incontinence. This condition greatly affects the patients’ quality of life, especially in its most severe stages; however, women in mild stages usually postpone seeking treatment and even consider it as something normal. There is few data on its prevalence in young women, as they do not present the most important risk factors: pregnancy and vaginal birth. Nonetheless, this group is starting to seek medical treatment for incontinence.
Objective: To determine the prevalence of urinary incontinence in female students from a public university.
Methods: Observational cross-sectional study. A survey with sociodemographic questions and the International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire Short Form (ICIQ-SF), validated on Chilean population, was prepared; then, an online questionnaire was sent to all undergraduate female students of the public university. Absolute and relative frequency analyses were done with SPSS 21. This study was approved by the local Ethics Committee.
Results: 1677 women willingly answered the survey. Average age was 21.4 years old (SD = 2.83). Nutritional status: 66.8% of the women were normal, 4% were underweight, 22.2% were overweight, and 6.8% were obese. 7.1% of them had at least one child, and 72.9% said to have had sexual activity in the last three months. Only 28% of them did regular physical activity, while 22% consumed tobacco and 75% consumed alcohol. 40.6% of the women stated to have some type of urinary incontinence, with urge incontinence as the most common (27.7%), followed by stress incontinence (20.2%). Moreover, 3% of them suffered from enuresis, and 5.6% from nocturia. About the amount of leaked urine, 0.78% said it to be large, and 4% said moderate. On frequency, 5.1% said daily or constant leaks, while 29.4% said to suffer from it once a week or less. Regarding its negative impact on quality of life, 10% picked 7 or higher in a 10-point Likert scale.
Conclusions: Urinary incontinence is a problem for the whole female population, as it affects women of all ages in different ways. In this study, the high prevalence of incontinence, and especially that of urge incontinence, called our attention. We believe that, given these results, there is a clear problem of underdiagnoses in young women; moreover, they tend to normalize these pathological symptoms and postpone diagnosis and treatment. It is necessary to determine the risk factors for this population segment and to establish treatment and prevention policies that focus on young women who have not had pregnancies yet.