The impact of urinary incontinence in working women: A study in a production facility

Sheila T. Fitzgerald, Mary H. Palmer, Victoria L. Kirkland, Leslie Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The objectives of this study were to identify the impact of self-reported UI on working women, to describe urine loss symptoms, strategies used to control urine loss, and help-seeking behavior among full-time women working in a rural production facility. Methods: A cross-sectional survey design was used and questionnaires were distributed to 500 women (response rate, 54%). Items elicited information on demographics, health, parity, symptoms and duration of urine loss, strategies to manage urine loss, effects of UI on work activities, level of knowledge about UI and treatment options, perceived importance of getting professional help, and actual help seeking behavior. Results: Twenty-nine percent (n = 78) reported UI at least monthly. Incontinent women were older (44.8 years vs. 38.1 years) than continent women (t = -5.22, p<.001) and incontinent women had a significantly higher average body mass index (BMI) than continent women (t = -4.3, p<.001). More women reported urine loss with coughing, lifting, bending, and when hands were in water, and were more likely to use pads at work to control urine loss. Few women had reported UI to a health care provider (36%) and most wanted more information about UI (85%). Conclusions: UI is a prevalent problem for working women. Workplace programs designed to assist women with prevention, treatment, and management of UI are crucial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalWomen and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 17 2002


  • Help-seeking behaviors
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Working women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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