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The current state of continence in Canada: a population representative epidemiological survey
Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Aug  2020 (Vol.  27, Issue  4, Pages( 10300 - 10305)
PMID: 32861255


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    Data on the prevalence of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and urinary incontinence (UI) in Canada are dated. This study aims to describe the current prevalence of LUTS and UI, to assess the state of knowledge of these conditions, the treatment for them and the treatment experience of symptomatic persons.


    A nationally representative adult (= 18 years) sample was surveyed using a questionnaire based on the EPIC study. The margin of error associated with this probability-based sample was +/-3.1%, 19 times out of 20.


    Of the 1000 people contacted, (52% female, 48% male), 78.4% were either aware or vaguely aware of the term 'incontinence'. A total of 43.7% of respondents felt that UI was a serious problem that could easily ruin quality of life. When asked, 93.7% of respondents felt that people with UI should seek medical advice, but only 41.4% (27.4% men, 54.3% women) knew what help was available. Of 23.7% of the sample with UI, 145 (61.2%) experienced leakage a few times a month or more frequently and 23.7% had UI for > 11 years. A total of 48.8% of people with UI had initiated a discussion with their healthcare provider about their urinary symptoms, 52.4% within the last year.


    The current distribution of UI in Canada is similar to that found in 2004. There remains a lack of awareness of the available treatments despite an acknowledgement that UI is an important medical condition. Few people had actively engaged with treatments. Men remain less aware and less likely to seek help than women.