The severity of urinary incontinence decreases health-related quality of life among community-dwelling elderly

Sara Aguilar-Navarro, Ana Patricia Navarrete-Reyes, Bernardo Horacio Grados-Chavarría, Juan Miguel Antonio García-Lara, Hélène Amieva, José Alberto Ávila-Funes, Luigi Ferrucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Urinary incontinence (UI) is an important geriatric syndrome that has been associated with a wide range of health-related outcomes. However, UI severity has rarely been examined in the context of a comprehensive geriatric assessment. Therefore, the aim of this study is to examine the association between UI severity and health-related quality of life (QoL) when frequent geriatric issues are taken into account. Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study of 1,124 participants aged 70 y and older. UI was diagnosed when difficulty with urinary continence was reported, and its severity was assessed through a modified version of the Sandvik Index. Health-related QoL was measured using the SF-36, including its physical and mental component summaries. Multivariate linear regression was performed to determine the association between UI severity and health-related QoL. Results: Prevalence of UI was 18%, and it was severe in 29.3% of cases. Severely incontinent subjects were older and had worse self-perceived health status, greater disability, and more depressive symptoms in comparison with continent participants or with those affected to a lesser degree. Multivariate regression analysis showed a significant inverse association between the physical component summaries and moderate (B = -4.54) as well as severe UI (B = -6.72). The mental component summaries showed similar results (B = -1.44 and -4.43, respectively). Conclusions: UI severity is associated with lower QoL scores in both its components. This association appears to be more important as severity increases. UI severity must be evaluated thoroughly in the elderly because of its potential adverse effects on physical and mental health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1266-1271
Number of pages6
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Frailty
  • Quality of Life
  • Urinary Incontinence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Medicine(all)


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