Prevalence of lower urinary tract symptoms in a cohort of Australian servicewomen and female veterans

Simone D. O’Shea*, Rod Pope, Katharine Freire, Robin Orr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
50 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction and hypothesis: Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) are common in the general female population. It was hypothesised that Australian female military personnel and veterans would experience similar types and prevalence of LUTS as the broader Australian female population. Methods: An online cross-sectional survey was utilised to explore the pelvic health of active servicewomen and veterans in the Australian Defence Force (ADF). For the purposes of this report, only the demographic and LUTS data (excluding urinary tract infections) were extracted and descriptively analysed. Results: A total of 491 complete survey responses were received and analysed. Respondent characteristics were comparable to those documented in a departmental report regarding ADF servicewomen. No LUTS were reported by 38% of respondents. Regular symptoms of urinary incontinence were experienced by 27% of respondents (stress urinary incontinence = 23%, urge urinary incontinence = 16%, mixed urinary incontinence = 13%), bladder storage issues by 20–27%, and various voiding impairments by 9–27%. In addition, 41% reported regularly experiencing two or more LUTS, and for over two thirds of respondents, LUTS were an ongoing issue. Relationships between age, parity, and symptoms of urinary incontinence were also seen. Conclusions: Consistent with wider research in Australian female populations, LUTS were commonly experienced during service by ADF female military personnel and veterans. Given the high likelihood of female military personnel experiencing LUTS during their service, and a proportion experiencing ongoing symptoms, tailored monitoring and support for urinary health should be available to enhance occupational health, safety, and performance.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Urogynecology Journal
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Jun 2022


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