Leaking urine in Australian women: Prevalence and associated conditions

Pauline Chiarelli, Wendy J. Brown*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


The paper aims to (1) assess the prevalence of leaking urine and to (2) explore associations between leaking urine and a variety of other symptoms, conditions, surgical procedures and life events in three large cohorts of Australian women, who are participants in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health. Young women aged 18-23 (N = 14,000), mid-age women, 45-50 (N = 13,738) and older women, 70-75 (N = 12,417), were recruited randomly from the national HIC/Medicare database. Leaking urine was reported by approximately one in eight young women [estimated prevalence 12.8% (95% CI: 12.2-13.3)] and one in three mid-age women [36.1% (CI: 35.2-37.0)] and older women [35.0% (CI: 34.1-35.9)]. Leaking urine was significantly associated with parity, conditions which increase the pressure on the pelvic floor such as constipation and obesity, past gynecological surgery and conditions which can impact on bladder control. The study showed that fewer than half the women had sought help for the problem and that younger women were less likely to be satisfied with the help available for this problem. Strategies for continence promotion, including opportunistic raising of the issue at the time of cervical screening and pregnancy care are suggested, so that the health and social outcomes of untreated chronic incontinence in women might be improved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalWomen and Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


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