Urinary incontinence in working women: A comparison study

Mary H. Palmer, Sheila Fitzgerald

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objectives: To compare the findings of two surveys concerning the nature of urinary incontinence and management strategies used by full-time employed working women. Methods: The first study was conducted in an urban academic setting with a survey distributed to 2000 women. The second study was conducted with 500 women in a rural pottery manufacturing facility. Results: Twenty-one percent of the women working in an academic setting (group A) and 29% (p = 0.002) of the women working in a manufacturing setting (group B) reported being incontinent of urine at least monthly. More women in group B reported antecedents mixed incontinence (i.e., antecedent to both stress and urge incontinence). More women in group B also used panty liners to manage urine loss (p = 0.003), whereas more women in group A used voiding schedules (p = 0.008) and pelvic muscle exercises (p = 0.04). More women in group A reported that they did not know if their incontinence could improve (40% vs. 1%, p = 0.00). The majority in both groups said that getting treatment was of no or little importance, yet, overwhelmingly, most women (group A 81%; group B 86%) wanted more information about incontinence. Conclusions: Incontinence is a prevalent condition in working women. Discrepancies exist in the nature of the urine loss and strategies used to manage incontinence. Treatment also differs for those women who report urine loss to healthcare providers. Most women want to learn more about incontinence. Secondary prevention strategies need to be tailored and tested to meet symptoms and concerns for women in different work settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)879-888
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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