The “bother” of urinary incontinence
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Introduction and hypothesis
Patient reported measures are important for the evaluation of symptom-specific bother and the distinction between different types of urinary incontinence. The aim of the study was to assess the validity of physician administered visual analogue scales (VAS) for the bother from stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and urge urinary incontinence (UUI).
In this prospective cohort study based at a tertiary urogynecological unit, women attending for investigation of lower urinary tract symptoms (n = 504) were asked to indicate their subjective bother from SUI and UUI on a 10-cm VAS. Clinical assessment, including multichannel urodynamic testing and 4D translabial ultrasound was performed for clinical diagnosis. Linear regression was used to model the average increase in VAS bother score of SUI and UUI for each explanatory variable.
74 % (n = 375) reported symptoms of SUI, with mean bother of 5.7 out of 10 (SD 2.8), and 73 % (n = 370) symptoms of UUI, with a mean bother of 6.5 out of 10 (SD 2.6). Bother from UUI was positively associated with the symptoms of nocturia (p < 0.0001) and frequency (p = 0.002), and the urodynamic findings of detrusor overactivity (p < 0.0001). Bother from SUI was positively related to the urodynamic diagnosis of USI (p < 0.0001) and a low abdominal leak point pressure (ALPP) (p = 0.002), as well as to the ultrasound findings of cystourethrocele (p < 0.0001) and funnelling (p = 0.04). All univariate associations remained highly significant on multivariate analysis, controlling for age, BMI, parity, previous incontinence/prolapse surgery and previous hysterectomy.
Physician-administered VAS are a valid, reliable and practicable tool to measure bother related to SUI and UUI.
KeywordsVisual analogue scale Bother Stress urinary incontinence Urge urinary incontinence Urodynamics Translabial ultrasound
H.P. Dietz has received unrestricted educational grants from GE Medical.
Conflict of interest
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