• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
  • disability;
  • National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey;
  • urinary incontinence;
  • women



Disability, an individual's reduced capacity to perform physical tasks encountered in daily routine, is associated with urinary incontinence in the elderly. Our objective was to determine if urinary incontinence is associated with disability in community-dwelling women 40 years and older.


Cross-sectional study among US women ≥40 years (n = 4,458) from National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys 2005–2010. We estimated the age-stratified weighted prevalence and factors independently associated with disability (Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs), mobility, and functional limitations) in women with and without urinary incontinence while controlling for confounders of the association between disability and urinary incontinence.


The weighted prevalence of all disabilities was higher in women with urinary incontinence than women without urinary incontinence across most decades of life with the greatest difference in the prevalence of mobility disabilities: 40–49 years (12.1% vs. 7.0%), 50–59 years (17.0% vs. 9.2%), 60–69 years (28.3% vs. 19.8%), and 70+ years (43.8% vs. 33.0%, all P < 0.05). On multivariable analysis, after controlling for the confounding effect of age, co-morbidities, and income-poverty ratio, urinary incontinence was weakly associated with disabilities. The adjusted odds ratio (95% confidence interval) of disabilities for urinary incontinence was ADL 1.96 (1.07, 3.58), IADL 1.18 (0.78, 1.78), mobility 1.26 (1.01, 1.56), and functional limitations 1.36 (1.07, 1.73).


Urinary incontinence is weakly associated with disabilities and cannot be implicated as a cause of disability in community dwelling women. Neurourol. Urodynam. 34:539–543, 2015. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.