International Urogynecology Journal

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 579–584 | Cite as

Urinary incontinence in female outpatients in Singapore

  • Rui Luo
  • Wei Dai
  • Lee Hua Tay
  • Foo Cheong Ng
  • Li-Tsa Koh
Original Article


Introduction and hypothesis

The aims of this study were to determine the prevalence, symptom characteristics, risk factors and impact on quality of life (QoL) of urinary incontinence (UI) in female outpatients in Singapore, to describe the attitudes of these women towards UI, and to investigate the barriers to healthcare-seeking behaviour in symptomatic women.


This was a cross-sectional study in a convenience sample and 249 women enrolled from outpatient clinics. A modified self-administered questionnaire which included two validated instruments (the International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire-Urinary Incontinence short form and the Incontinence Impact Questionnaire-7) was used.


Questionnaires from 230 women were included in the analysis. The overall prevalence of UI was 41.74% (95% CI 35.49–48.26%). Most of the symptomatic women suffered from mild UI and the most common subtype was stress UI. Age (OR 1.03, 95% CI 1.00–1.05), vaginal delivery (OR 2.67, 95% CI 1.43–4.97) and being sexually active (OR 2.41, 95% CI 1.31–4.43) were associated with UI. Among symptomatic women, only 41.25% (95% CI 30.82–52.53%) had sought medical attention before. The most common barrier to healthcare-seeking behaviour was embarrassment. The median QoL score was 33.33, indicating a mild impact of UI on QoL. QoL score was associated with UI severity (p < 0.001).


Despite the high prevalence of UI, only about 41% of UI sufferers had sought medical attention before. Common barriers included embarrassment, fear of surgery and misconceptions. This study emphasizes the need for policy development for UI prevention and management in Singapore.


Urinary incontinence Prevalence Risk factors Healthcare-seeking behaviour Quality of life 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest


Patient consent

This was a questionnaire study, so only verbal consent was needed.


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Copyright information

© The International Urogynecological Association 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rui Luo
    • 1
  • Wei Dai
    • 2
  • Lee Hua Tay
    • 1
  • Foo Cheong Ng
    • 1
  • Li-Tsa Koh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of UrologyChangi General HospitalSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Saw Swee Hock School of Public healthNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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