Prevalence and Severity of Urinary Incontinence in Elderly Mexican-American Women

David V. Espino, Ray F. Palmer, Toni P. Miles, Charles P. Mouton, Michael J. Lichtenstein, Kyriakos P. Markides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To measure prevalence and characteristics of urinary incontinence in older Mexican-American women. DESIGN: Cross-sectional analysis of a longitudinal survey of a representative sample of older Mexican Americans. SETTING: Five southwestern states in the United States. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 1,589 Mexican-American women, aged 65 and older who were part of the Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly. MEASUREMENTS: Self-reported psychosocial, demographic, and health variables; self-reported history of symptoms of urinary incontinence. RESULTS: Two hundred thirty-nine (15%) of the 1,589 Mexican-American women reported having urinary incontinence. Almost 33% reported urge incontinence symptoms, 10% reported stress incontinence symptoms, and 42% had symptoms suggestive of mixed incontinence. Thirty-five percent of subjects reported incontinence episodes with moderate to large amounts of urine loss, and 15% reported that their urinary symptoms kept them from engaging in social activities. Age and body mass index were risk factors for incontinence (P =.02 and P =.03, respectively). CONCLUSION: This is the first community-based survey examining rates of urinary incontinence in Mexican-American women. The prevalence of urinary incontinence may be lower in older Mexican-American women than in the general population. They may also have a higher percentage of urge as opposed to stress incontinence symptoms and may suffer from moderate to large volumes of urine loss associated with their incontinence episodes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1580-1586
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2003


  • Epidemiology
  • Hispanic
  • Urinary incontinence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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