Prevalence, impact and specialised treatment of urinary incontinence in women with chronic lung disease

B. M. Button, A. E. Holland, M. S. Sherburn, J. Chase, J. W. Wilson, A. T. Burge

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To determine in women with clinically stable chronic lung disease (CLD) and healthy women; (1) prevalence of urinary incontinence; (2) risk factors for urinary incontinence; (3) effects of a standard course of specialised physiotherapy treatment (PT) in women with CLD. Design: Prospective prevalence study; PT study in CLD subgroup. Setting: Tertiary metropolitan public hospital. Participants: Women with cystic fibrosis (CF, n = 38), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, n = 27) and 69 healthy women without CLD. PT study — 10 women with CLD. Interventions: Five continence PT sessions over 3 months. Main outcome measures: Prevalence and impact of incontinence (questionnaire), number of leakage episodes (7-day accident diary), pelvic floor muscle function (ultrasound imaging) and quality of life (King's Health Questionnaire). Results: The majority of women in all three groups reported episodes of incontinence (CF 71%; COPD 70%; healthy women 55%). Compared to age-matched healthy controls, women with CF reported more episodes of incontinence (P = 0.006) and more commonly reported stress incontinence (P = 0.001). A logistic regression model revealed that women with CLD were twice as likely to develop incontinence than healthy women (P = 0.05). Women with COPD reported significantly more ‘bother’ with incontinence than age-matched women with incontinence. There was a significant reduction in incontinence episodes following treatment, which was maintained after three months. Conclusions: The presence of CLD is an independent predictor of incontinence in women. In older women this is associated with more distress than in age-matched peers without CLD. Larger treatment studies are indicated for women with CLD and incontinence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-119
Number of pages6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Lower urinary tract symptoms
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Women

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