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Global incontinence set to rise

13 August 2012

A study spanning five continents estimates that by the year 2018, almost half of the world population over the age of 20 (approximately 2.3 billion people) will experience at least one lower urinary tract symptom, an increase of 18 per cent in just one decade. Incontinence will also increase, particularly in Africa, South America and Asia.

The study of more than 19,000 people, co-ordinated by the Department of Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina, USA, and published in the British Journal of Urology International, predicted that between 2008 and 2018:

  • the worldwide prevalence of lower urinary tract symptoms will rise to just under 46 per cent (47 per cent women and 45 per cent men);
  • overactive bladder will increase by 20 per cent, affecting approximately 546 million people worldwide; and
  • urinary incontinence will have risen by 22 per cent, affecting about 423 million individuals.

Lead author Dr Debra Irwin said the study underlined a “clear and urgent need to improve the awareness, prevention, diagnosis and management of these conditions”. 

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