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Urinary Incontinence Is Costly for Female Patients

Study of community-dwelling women finds an annual out-of-pocket expense of up to $1,150

MONDAY, Dec. 24 (HealthDay News) -- In community-dwelling women, urinary incontinence is associated with significant annual out-of-pocket costs, according to the results of a study published in the December issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Leslee Subak, M.D., of the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues studied 528 women (mean age 55) with weekly urinary incontinence.

The researchers found that 69 percent of subjects reported incontinence-related costs. Although the median weekly cost (in 2005 dollars) was $1.83, it ranged from a median of 93 cents per week in women with moderate incontinence to a median of $7.82 per week in women with severe incontinence. The researchers also found that costs that increased with incontinence severity and body mass index were 2.2-fold higher for black versus white women, and 42 percent higher for women with mixed versus stress incontinence.

"Community-dwelling women with severe and very severe incontinence pay approximately $350 to $1,150 per year out-of-pocket for incontinence routine care, none of which is reimbursed by third-party payers," the authors write. "Because there is a strong association between incontinence severity and costs, effective incontinence therapy, which includes weight reduction, may decrease a woman's cost burden."

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