Advanced maternal age as a risk factor for stress urinary incontinence: a review of the literature


The pathophysiology of stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is multifactorial and evidence supports a critical role of pregnancy and vaginal delivery. This review dissects epidemiologic literature to determine the weight of evidence on the role of advanced maternal age (AMA) as a risk factor for the development of subsequent or persistent SUI. We conducted a Medline search using the keywords postpartum, SUI, maternal age, pregnancy, and incontinence. The published literature was critically analyzed. Evidence supports that childbirth trauma contributes to the development and severity of SUI. Yet, there is contradicting evidence as to whether AMA increases the risk. AMA clearly represents an independent risk factor for postpartum SUI. However, long-term studies did not confirm this observation. Whether this finding is suggestive of a true biologic signal that is lost with competing risk factors over time warrants further research.

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The authors thank Kerry O. Grimberg, Ph.D. for her medical editorial assistance.

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Correspondence to Adonis Hijaz.

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Hijaz, A., Sadeghi, Z., Byrne, L. et al. Advanced maternal age as a risk factor for stress urinary incontinence: a review of the literature. Int Urogynecol J 23, 395–401 (2012).

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  • Maternal age
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk factors
  • Stress urinary incontinence
  • Postpartum