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ORIGINAL ARTICLE  
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 44  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 30-33
 

Prevalence and factors of urinary incontinence among postmenopausal women attending the obstetrics and gynecology outpatient service in a tertiary health care center in Kochi, Kerala


1 Seventh Semester MBBS Students, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, Kerala, India
2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, Kerala, India
3 Department of Community Medicine, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, Kerala, India

Date of Submission13-Jan-2019
Date of Acceptance06-Sep-2019
Date of Web Publication15-Oct-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Devraj Ramakrishnan
Department of Community Medicine, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Edapally, Kochi, Kerala
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijcm.IJCM_29_19

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   Abstract 


Introduction: Urinary incontinence has an immense impact on the social and mental health, and the quality of life of a person. Women neither come forward seeking medical consultation nor do they discuss about their incontinence openly, and the condition remains underestimated in the society. Hence, this study was undertaken to assess the type of urinary incontinence in postmenopausal women visiting obstetrics and gynecology (OBG) outpatient in a tertiary health care sector and to determine the risk factors of urinary incontinence. Materials and Methods: All postmenopausal women of age 45–90 years visiting the OBG Department of Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in the months of May and June 2018 were assessed for urinary incontinence. QUID questionnaire - a six item urinary incontinence diagnostic questionnaire to diagnose and differentiate stress, urge and mixed incontinence - was used. Results: The prevalence of urinary incontinence was 26.47%, stress urinary incontinence contributing 13.9%, mixed urinary incontinence 7.2%, and urge urinary incontinence 5.4%. Chronic cough, recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI), and prolonged duration of labor were independent risk factors associated with urinary incontinence in postmenopausal women. Conclusion: Stress incontinence was found to be the major type of urinary incontinence in the postmenopausal women. Those having history of chronic cough, prolonged duration of labor, and recurrent UTI should be screened regularly for urinary incontinence.


Keywords: Kerala, postmenopausal women, urinary incontinence


How to cite this article:
Ajith AK, Rekha A, Duttagupta S, Murali V, Ramakrishnan D, Krishnapillai V. Prevalence and factors of urinary incontinence among postmenopausal women attending the obstetrics and gynecology outpatient service in a tertiary health care center in Kochi, Kerala. Indian J Community Med 2019;44, Suppl S1:30-3

How to cite this URL:
Ajith AK, Rekha A, Duttagupta S, Murali V, Ramakrishnan D, Krishnapillai V. Prevalence and factors of urinary incontinence among postmenopausal women attending the obstetrics and gynecology outpatient service in a tertiary health care center in Kochi, Kerala. Indian J Community Med [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 Nov 21];44, Suppl S1:30-3. Available from: http://www.ijcm.org.in/text.asp?2019/44/5/30/267812





   Introduction Top


Urinary incontinence has an immense impact on the social and mental health, and the quality of life of a person. Women neither come forward seeking medical consultation nor do they discuss about their incontinence openly, and the condition remains underestimated in the society. There are many unreported cases in the population as per se veral hospital-based studies done in India before.[1] The knowledge about the risk factors of urinary incontinence in this population will help us to take measures to reduce the burden of the condition.

The literature review regarding prevalence, type, and risk factors of urinary incontinence among postmenopausal women in Kerala is minimal. In most of the studies done till now, the objective was to measure the quality of life of women affected due to urinary incontinence, but the actual prevalence of urinary incontinence still remains largely hidden.

Urinary Incontinence means loss of voluntary control to pass urine. Pathophysiology lies in the epithelial changes in the urethral mucosa due to hormonal changes in the body of the woman after menopause. After menopause, there is cessation of ovarian function which results in estrogen deficiency. Hormonal changes cause incontinence by thinning of the urethral mucosa, loss of urethral closure pressure and bladder dysfunction, sphincter dysfunction, or a combination of both.[2]

There are three types of urinary incontinence – stress, urge, and a mixture of stress and urge incontinence (mixed) incontinence.

Stress incontinence or the sphincteric incontinence may occur during normal activities such as laughing, crying, coughing, climbing stairs, or lifting heavy objects.

Stress may occur during coughing, sneezing, straining while passing urine or stools, carrying heavy objects, bending down, or doing heavy exercise. Urge incontinence or the bladder incontinence results in symptoms such as leaking or wetting undergarments before entering the bathroom and increased frequency of micturition.[3],[4]

The risk factors associated with urinary incontinence in the literature were age, parity, type of delivery, previous hysterectomy, smoking habits, body mass index (BMI), diabetes status, chronic cough, constipation, intake of drugs, tea, caffeine and alcohol, and physical activities.[5],[6],[7] As help-seeking behavior is seen to decrease with age and severity of the condition, identification of the problem and the risk factors is essential. Based on the identified risk factors, health services available, attitude, and need to treat the condition, women seek medical consultation and are treated.[8]

Hence, the study is carried out to estimate the prevalence, the types, and risk factors associated with urinary incontinence among postmenopausal women visiting the obstetrics and gynecology (OBG) outpatient (OP) in a tertiary health care center in Kochi.


   Materials and Methods Top


After obtaining approval from the Ethical Committee of Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, a hospital-based cross-sectional study was carried out in the OBG Department of Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences which is a tertiary health care sector in Kochi, Kerala. Postmenopausal women of age 45–90 years, who came to the OBG department, were studied. All women with severe illness, mental illness, and those who refused to give consent were excluded. The sample size was calculated from the percentage of women who were incontinent (21.87%) in a study by Danforth et al., and with 95% confidence interval and 20% relative precision, as 345.[5]

All postmenopausal women of age 45–90 arriving to the gynecology OP were informed, and consent was taken. Consent was obtained from the respondent or a respondent-approved family member through signature, when the respondent did not know how to put a signature and did not want to give a thumb impression.

The details of sociodemographic factors, amount of physical exercise, habits of tobacco smoking/chewing and alcohol, use of beverages, use of medications, and obstetricgynecological predisposing factors were assessed through an interview schedule. The type of incontinence was diagnosed using QUID questionnaire, a validated 6 questionnaire which is used to calculate the stress incontinence score, urge incontinence score, and mixed incontinence score. 389 patients were interviewed in the 2 months of duration May and June, 2018. The data were collected and compiled in MS Excel. The data were analyzed in SPSS 16 trial version. After estimating the prevalence, a secondary case control analysis was done. Bi-variable analysis with urinary incontinence was done using Pearson's Chi-square test. Multivariable analysis was done using binary logistic regression.


   Results Top


The mean age of the study population was 60.2 (8.1) with a range of 45–87 years. BMI had a range of 13.9–44.4 with a mean of 24.95 (4.1). Seventy-two percentage of the study participants were homemakers and 18% were professionals. Manual laborers and factory workers constituted only 3.6% and the rest were retired hands. Mean parity was 2.33 (1.1) and mean duration of labor was 8.06 (10.94). Distribution of other obstetric factors, comorbidities, habits, and medications is given in [Table 1].
Table 1: Distribution of study participants based on obstetric factors, comorbidities, habits and medications (n=389)

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The total prevalence of urinary incontinence in our study was 26.47%. Stress incontinence accounted for 13.9%, followed by mixed urinary incontinence, contributing 7.2% and finally, urge urinary incontinence - 5.4%, as depicted in [Figure 1]. Proportion of urinary incontinence in different age groups is depicted in [Figure 2].
Figure 1: Distribution of different types of urinary incontinence (%)

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Figure 2: Proportion of urinary incontinent and normal individuals in different age groups

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Of 15 variables studied, only 4 were found to be significant using bivariable analysis. These variables were chronic cough (P = 0.006), recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI) (P < 0.001), duration of labor (P = 0.029), and the type of delivery (0.034) as depicted in [Table 2]. BMI did not show any association with urinary incontinence.
Table 2: Bivariable analysis - risk factors associated with urinary incontinence

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Multivariable analysis was done using binary logistic regression - stepwise backward elimination method. All the variables having P value 0.2 or less were put in the model which included age, occupation, parity, menopausal age, duration of labor, type of delivery, diabetes mellitus, chronic cough, recurrent UTI, and physical activity. Chronic cough, recurrent UTI, and duration of labor were found to be independent risk factors as depicted in [Table 3]. The Cox and Snell R2 was found to be 0.076.
Table 3: Mutivariable analysis - independent risk factors of urinary incontinence

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   Discussion Top


The total prevalence of urinary incontinence was 26.47%. Majority of the incontinent women comprised by stress type that accounted for 13.9%, followed by mixed urinary incontinence, contributing 7.2% and finally by urge urinary incontinence - 5.4%.

Urinary incontinence is an important multifactorial health condition that can deteriorate one's quality of life. One thing we noticed during this study was that most of the women were oblivious of their condition and considered themselves as “normal” and considered urinary incontinence, as a “natural consequence” of aging. This may be the main reason why it always goes unnoticed and underreported and this clearly depicts the “iceberg phenomenon.”

In this study, prevalence of urinary incontinence was more or less similar in women aged 75 and above (27%), women between 45 and 59 years (26.8%) and 60 and 74 years (25%). In a study done by Nojomi et al., urinary incontinence was higher among age group > 55 years.[6] Another study done by Singh et al. showed a low prevalence in age groups < 20 (7.6%), 31–40 years (11.6%) and > 70 years (20%) and the highest incidence among 61–70 years (42.8%).[1] Chronic cough, recurrent UTI, and duration of labor were obtained as independent risk factors.

Chronic cough has a direct association with urinary incontinence.[9] If there is a sudden increase in the intra-abdominal pressure that may produce the exhaustion of pelvic floor muscles. Even a momentary relaxation of these muscles may leak urine. Recurrent UTIs may be treated as a trivial matter by the community for which they resort to home remedies and drinking fluids in plenty and hardly taken seriously as a medical condition. But it is widespread and requires a proper diagnosis and treatment.[10]

Prolonged labor may act as a direct cause for pelvic floor dysfunction like nerve or muscle damage, direct tissue stretching, and disruption. A gynecologist's intervention during labor in case it is prolonged will include episiotomy which prevents harmful perineal tears and reduces the risk of perineal weakness. This may decrease the risk of pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence.[11] However, there are many other recent studies saying episiotomy is not effective. Prolonged labor have been shown by other studies also as an associated factor for developing urinary incontinence, and physiological changes during delivery are attributed as a potential cause.[12]

While this study shows a decrease in the incidence of urinary incontinence among those who underwent cesarean section, hence concluding that it is a protective factor, the study done by Nojomi et al. brought out no difference between those who underwent previous caesarean section and nulliparous women. However, in the same study, the previous vaginal delivery was a risk factor.[6] The significance of caesarean section in our study obtained in bivariable analysis was lost in multivariable analysis though. This may have been due to the presence of duration of labor as a variable in the model which came out as an independent risk factor. Longer durations are invariably associated with vaginal delivery.

Previous studies have shown that multiparity, diabetes mellitus, obesity, hysterectomy and other pelvic surgeries, physical activity, constipation, and high caffeine intake to be high risk factors of urinary incontinence.[1],[2],[4],[13] In another study done by Kiran Panesar in the USA, pharmacologic agents including oral estrogens, alpha-blockers, sedatives, antidepressants, antipsychotics, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, loop diuretics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and calcium channel blockers have been implicated to cause the onset and some degree of exacerbation of urinary incontinence.[3] Our study did not show any of these associations which might have been due to our secondary case–control mode of analysis rather than going for a case–control study.

Limitations

The sample was not sufficient to bring out a relationship between urinary incontinence and all the known risk factors as the study was primarily to estimate the prevalence. As the study population chiefly consisted of women below 60 years of age, the contribution of age as a risk factor was reduced. In this study, the information regarding factors such as delivery time, physical inactivity, and previous drug intake might have suffered due to recall bias. Women feel embarrassed and humiliated to disclose about urinary incontinence which is why many are reluctant to come forward and seek treatment or ask another family member for help.


   Conclusion Top


The prevalence of urinary incontinence in our study is 26.47% and is mainly contributed by stress incontinence. This study revealed chronic cough, recurrent UTI, and prolonged duration of labor to be independent risk factors for the development of urinary incontinence in postmenopausal women.

Recommendations

Urinary incontinence is a trivialized matter by the society which requires great concern and attention. Knowledge among women about the risk factors may help to reduce the incidence, or at least the severity of the condition by seeking early treatment, thereby improving the quality of life.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
Singh U, Agarwal P, Verma ML, Dalela D, Singh N, Shankhwar P. Prevalence and risk factors of urinary incontinence in Indian women: A hospital-based survey. Indian J Urol 2013;29:31-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
2.
Peyrat L, Haillot O, Bruyere F, Boutin JM, Bertrand P, Lanson Y. Prevalence and risk factors of urinary incontinence in young and middle-aged women. BJU Int 2002;89:61-6.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Medscape. Drug-Induced Urinary Incontinence. Available from: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/833510. [Last accessed on 2019 Jan 11].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Sakondhavat C, Choosuwan C, Kaewrudee S, Soontrapa S, Louanka K. Prevalence and risk factors of urinary incontinence in Khon Kaen menopausal women. J Med Assoc Thai 2007;90:2553-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Danforth KN, Townsend MK, Lifford K, Curhan GC, Resnick NM, Grodstein F. Risk factors for urinary incontinence among middle-aged women. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2006;194:339-45.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Nojomi M, Amin EB, Rad RB. Urinary incontinence: Hospital-based prevalence and risk factors. J Res Med Sci. 2008;13:22-8.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Markland AD, Richter HE, Fwu CW, Eggers P, Kusek JW. Prevalence and trends of urinary incontinence in adults in the United States, 2001 to 2008. J Urol 2011;186:589-93.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Huang KC. Health care-seeking behaviors among women suffering from urinary incontinence. Health Care (Don Mills) 2016;6:9.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Zoglmann R, Nguyen T, Engberts M, Vaessen D, Patberg N, Berg JV den. Do patients with stress incontinence cough or do cough patients suffer from urinary incontinence? Eur Respir J 2015;46 Suppl 59:PA713.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Al-Badr A, Al-Shaikh G. Recurrent urinary tract infections management in women: A review. Sultan Qaboos Univ Med J 2013;13:359-67.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Bertozzi S, Londero AP, Fruscalzo A, Driul L, Delneri C, Calcagno A, et al. Impact of episiotomy on pelvic floor disorders and their influence on women's wellness after the sixth month postpartum: A retrospective study. BMC Womens Health 2011;11:12.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Brown SJ, Gartland D, Donath S, MacArthur C. Effects of prolonged second stage, method of birth, timing of caesarean section and other obstetric risk factors on postnatal urinary incontinence: An Australian nulliparous cohort study. BJOG 2011;118:991-1000.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Nitti VW. The prevalence of urinary incontinence. Rev Urol 2001;3 Suppl 1:S2-6.  Back to cited text no. 13
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]



 

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