Prevalence and Risk Factors of Urinary Incontinence in Women Residing in a Tribal Area in Maharashtra, India

Shruti Atul Prabhu, Sunita S Shanbhag


Background: To study the prevalence and risk factors of urinary incontinence in tribal women and to assess the treatment seeking behavior of affected women.

Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted in Khardi, a tribal village, selected by random sampling, in Thane district, Maharashtra, India during the period October 2010 to January 2011. All women aged 20 years and above were selected for the study except pregnant and lactating women and those with neurological disorders affecting bladder continence. A semi-structured questionnaire assessing socio-demographic factors of women, severity, type of incontinence, obstetric and other risk factors of incontinence was administered to the study participants. The participants who suffered from incontinence were inquired regarding their treatment seeking behavior for the same. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the independent association between these factors and primary outcome of incontinence.

Results: Of 353 women participated in the study, 90 (25.5%) reported urinary incontinence. Prevalence of urinary incontinence showed significant association with increasing age (P<0.010). Associated obstetric factors included high parity (P<0.001), early post-partum resumption of heavy work (P<0.050) and prolonged labor (P<0.010). Other risk factors like hypertension, diabetes, chronic cough and constipation were predictors of incontinence in regression analysis (R2=0.47). Healthcare seeking rate was only 14.4% since they either accepted incontinence as a normal ageing process or were embarrassed to seek medical advice.

Conclusions: Urinary incontinence is a neglected problem in tribal women predicted by obstetric and other risk factors.


Urinary Incontinence; Tribal; Prevalence; India

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