Research Article

Urinary incontinence in the community--analysis of a MORI poll.

BMJ 1993; 306 doi: (Published 27 March 1993) Cite this as: BMJ 1993;306:832
  1. J C Brocklehurst
  1. British Association for Continence Care, Prism International, Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire.


    OBJECTIVES--To investigate the prevalence of urinary incontinence among people living at home, their responses to it, and its emotional and social effects. DESIGN--Random sample of 4007 adults interviewed in their own homes. SETTING--Random sample of 178 constituency sampling points throughout Great Britain. SUBJECTS--1883 men, 2124 women aged 30 and over. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Responses to questionnaire. RESULTS--6.6% (125) men and 14.0% (297) women had been incontinent of urine at some time--2.8% (52) men and 7.5% (159) women in the previous two months and 61% (124) of these for more than four years. 52% (108) had consulted their general practitioner at the onset of incontinence and a further 31% (65) later. Doctors commonly took a urine sample (163, 54%), referred the patient to a specialist (127, 42%), and prescribed tablets (109, 36%); only 22% (66) carried out an abdominal, rectal, or vaginal examination. Patients were not embarrassed in seeing their doctor and most thought they were treated sympathetically. 60% (265) of all those affected were concerned or worried about their incontinence, and in almost half incontinence limited their daily social activities. CONCLUSION--More people with incontinence seem to be consulting their doctors about it than has been found in previous studies, but the procedures carried out by general practitioners still seem to be suboptimal. Urinary incontinence has a profound effect on the day to day lives of most of those who suffer from it.