TUESDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- Urinary incontinence is often thought of as a problem that occurs after childbirth or in old age, but a new study finds that many young women who have never given birth have the bothersome condition, too.
Researchers in Australia surveyed more than 1,000 women aged 16 to 30 who had never been pregnant and found that one in eight, or nearly 13 percent, reported having urinary incontinence.
Urinary incontinence means leaking urine during certain activities such as running or sneezing, or being unable to hold urine with a full bladder.
Previous research has found the rates are higher among women who've had children. But this study shows that urinary incontinence can affect women of all ages, regardless of pregnancy history, and that the condition may be underdiagnosed and undertreated in younger women, experts said.
"Although incontinence is more prevalent as women age and with an increasing number of pregnancies, incontinence can affect women of all ages," said Dr. Jill Rabin, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, who was not involved with the study.
The study, by Tessa O'Halloran and colleagues at Monash University, in Melbourne, is published in the July 17 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.
The women who answered the survey came from eight medical clinics and three university campuses in Australia. They were asked to complete a questionnaire about an important issue in women's health, but were not told it was about urinary incontinence prior to filling it out. About 63 percent of those who took surveys returned them.
Commenting on the study, Dr. Elizabeth Kavaler, a urology specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, pointed out that because people who have a problem may be more likely to answer a survey about it, that may mean the study overestimat
All rights reserved