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[PISS OFF] Urinary incontinence tied to poorer mental health in older women

Women with urinary incontinence report higher rates of depression and lower levels of self-worth than those who don’t have the condition, according to research presented July 9 at the European Association of Urology congress, EAU21.

Researchers drew on data from a population-based survey run by the Portuguese Health Ministry every five years, which asks respondents about various aspects of health and wellbeing. They analyzed the responses of around 10,000 women, comparing the prevalence of depression diagnosis, use of mental health consultations, dimensions of mental health disease and addictive behaviors — smoking and alcohol consumption — between women who did and did not report urinary incontinence.

They found that, overall, around one in 10 women reported having urinary incontinence; however, the percentage increased to four in 10 for women over age 75. Women who reported incontinence were 66% more likely to be diagnosed with depression and saw their doctor more frequently for mental health reasons. After adjustment for factors such as alcohol and smoking, women with incontinence also were 65% more likely to report their health status as bad, had greater difficulty concentrating and had more feelings of guilt and lower self-worth than women without incontinence.

Urologist Dr. Margarida Manso commented in a statement, “We believe the conversation between patients and their urologists needs to change. Clinicians should be asking patients about their mental health when discussing treatments, because treating their physical challenges could help with the psychological cost of the condition.” Similarly, active-aging organizations should be aware of the impact and help ensure that affected residents and members receive treatment.

To read a summary of the plenary session that addressed incontinence care challenges and management in older adults, click here

 

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