Urinary Incontinence and Urinary Tract Infection

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the temporal relationship between self-reported urine loss and incident, symptomatic, microbiologically confirmed urinary tract infection (UTI).

METHODS: We used daily diaries to collect information on incontinent episodes during a 2-year prospective study of incident UTI among 913 healthy postmenopausal health maintenance organization enrollees. We calculated the monthly rate of urine loss to assess for association with incident UTI. We also estimated the basal rate of urinary incontinence among women who experienced a UTI (excluding the 14-day time period pre- and post-UTI) and compared this to urine loss during the 3-day time period after UTI, to evaluate changes after infection.

RESULTS: Sixty percent of women reported urinary incontinence, at a mean rate of 4.7 times per month. The monthly mean rate of urine loss was 2.64 times per month among women who did not experience a UTI compared with 4.60 times per among women who developed a UTI (P=.04). Among women who developed a UTI (n=78), the rate of urine loss during the 3 days after UTI onset was 1.5 times higher than the basal rate (0.23 compared with 0.15 reports per day, P=.26).

CONCLUSION: After eliminating episodes of incontinence surrounding a UTI, the basal rate of urine loss was higher among women who experienced UTIs compared with those who did not. Additionally, among women who experienced a UTI, an increase in urine loss occurred in the immediate 3-day time period post-UTI, compared with infection-free periods. Urinary incontinence characterizes women who experience UTIs, both intercurrently and during an acute episode.

Elya E. Moore, PhD, Sara L. Jackson, MD, MPH, Edward J. Boyko, MD, MPH, Delia Scholes, PhD and Stephan D. Fihn, MD, MPH

From the Health Services Research & Development Center of Excellence, VA Puget Sound Health Care System; Department of Medicine, University of Washington; Seattle ERIC, VA Puget Sound Health Care System; and Group Health Center for Health Studies, Group Health Cooperative, Seattle, Washington.

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