Published Papers - Abstract 65

Doran CM, Chiarelli P & Cockburn J. Economic costs of urinary incontinence in community-dwelling Australian women. Medical Journal of Australia, 2001; 174(9): 456-458

Objective: To estimate the economic cost of urinary incontinence in community-dwelling Australian women aged 18 years and over for the year 1998. Design: Extrapopulation of data from studies of women with incontinence to the Australian population of women aged 18 years and over in 1998.Main outcome measures: Estimated prevalence of urinary incontinence in 1998, and estimated cost in Australian dollars of resource use and personal costs related to management of incontinence.Results: An estimated 1 835 628 community-dwelling women over the age of 18 years had urinary incontinence in 1998. The total annual cost of this urinary incontinence is estimated at $710.44 million or $387 per incontinent woman, comprising $338.47 million in treatment costs and $371.97 million in personal costs. An estimated 60% of women with incontinence in 1998 were aged 40 years or over. Assuming the prevalence of incontinence remains constant and, allowing for inflation, we project that the total annual cost in 20 years' time will be $1267.85 million, 93% ($1.18 billion) of which will constitute costs associated with incontinent women aged over 40 years.Conclusions: Urinary incontinence imposes a considerable drain on Australian healthcare resources. More research is needed to understand the magnitude of the problem and potential gains from continence promotion.