Male and female urinary incontinence is a severe health problem that impacts the quality of life among many people in the society. The incontinence affects people of all ages, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds (Higa, Lopes, & D’Ancona, 2013). This health problem bears an enormous socioeconomic burden to the community. Urinary incompetence has an adverse impact on the health of the affected population because it reduces their quality of life, contributes to the occurrence of depression, increases hospital admissions and falls (Wood & Anger, 2014). The risk of admission among men with urinary incontinence is 3.2 and among women is 2.0 (Wood & Anger, 2014). Men with this condition are more likely to report increased risk of institutionalization and lower quality of life than men without this type of incontinence (Clemens, 2016). The same thing happens in women. In the United States of America, the annual cost of urinary incontinence is more than $32bn, the cost for women over 65 years of age is twice those for under the age of 65 (Wood & Anger, 2014). For men the cost of this condition is lower compared to women because of the high prevalence of the disease in women (Wood & Anger, 2014). The purpose of this essay is to discuss the prevalence of urinary incontinence in males and females, its risk, and etiological factors.
Prevalence of Male and Female Urinary Incontinence
The prevalence of this condition is higher in females than in males. It affects more than 200 million people in the world with more than 55% being women (Wood & Anger, 2014). However, the women proportion is an underestimate because over 50% of this gender may fail to report the presence of urinary incontinence to their professional health provider (Wood & Anger, 2014). Some of the reasons that may hinder effective reporting and seek professional help are the lack of knowledge about the current treatment options, stigma, and the belief that the contention is a normal occurrence in elderly populations. These allegations can be justified by the small proportion of males with the disease. According to Irwin, Kopp, Agatep, Milsom, and Abrams (2011), urinary incontinence affects more than 43 million men. Kuchel and DuBeau (2009) reiterate that male prevalence rates for this disease are about one-third that of women, but the gap in the ninth decade of life equalizes. Therefore, the prevalence increases with age in females suffering more than their male counterparts, although by the age of 90, the prevalence is the same for both genders.
Although the prevalence varies between the two genders, age has an enormous impact equally. Markland, Goode, Redden, Borrud, and Burgio (2010) found that the prevalence of moderate to severe urinary incontinence in 20 to 34-year-old men is 0.7% and 16.0% in men at least 75 years of age. Similar findings are reported by Shamliyan, Wyman, Ping, Wilt, and Kane (2009) who found that urinary incontinence affects 11% of males aged 60-64 years, but the prevalence increases to 31% in older men. In females the trend in prevalence is similar to that of men. Women aged 20 to 39 years have a prevalence rate of 7-37% for urinary incontinence while that of 60 years old and over is 9-39% (Buckley & Lapitan, 2010). Therefore, with the age, the risk of developing this health problem increases.
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Etiological and Risk Factors for Male and Female Urinary Incontinence
The risk and etiological factors for urinary incontinence may differ depending on the gender of a person, although both o genders have some common risks. Recurrent urinary infections, advancing age, and high body mass index increase the risk of this health problem among both genders (Wood & Anger, 2014). Obesity and advancing age are known to increase the risk of developing stress urinary incontinence. Furthermore, individuals with a family history of the disease or its modifiable risk factors like obesity are more likely to develop the health problem. Smoking also increases the risk of urgency urinary incontinence, similar to high caffeine intake that increases the risk by 40% (Wood & Anger, 2014). Other risk factors include urinary bladder obstruction and neurological diseases (Higa, Lopes, & D’Ancona, 2013). Injuries to the spinal cord can also interfere with the nervous functions in controlling the bladder to cause incontinence.
Gender-specific risk factors are concerned with the anatomical and physiological variations between the two genders. In males, prostate cancer and its treatment through surgical interventions are the main risk factors for urinary incontinence (Higa, Lopes, & D’Ancona, 2013). Pregnancy and childbirth are risk factors of stress urinary incontinence, vaginal delivery is worse compared to caesarean delivery, since the risk of urinary incontinence in nulliparous women is10.1% compared to 15.9% and 21% of those who give birth through caesarean and vaginal delivery respectively (Wood & Anger, 2014). Furthermore, hysterectomy increases the risk of incontinence because of its side effects including damage to pelvic floor muscles among others (Wood & Anger, 2014). Stress urinary incontinence also occurs due to vaginal prolapse, cystocele, and rectocele, which are common after hysterectomy.
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Male and female urinary incontinence affects many people around the globe by lowering their quality of life and increasing the expenditure on its treatment. It impacts women the most, although age determines its prevalence in populations. Advancing age increases the risk of the disease with the aged reporting high prevalence rates that the young ones across both genders. Other non-gender-specific risk factors include smoking, injuries to the spinal cord, urinary tract infections, neurological diseases, and so forth. Prostate cancer and its treatment through surgical interventions increase the risk among males. For women, childbirth, pregnancy, and hysterectomy are the major risk factors.