Aim. To assess the prevalence and bothersomeness of lower urinary tract symptoms in women aged 40–60 years.
Study design. Ongoing longitudinal cohort study.
Methods. Four thousand women recruited on a random basis from the Civil Registration System, in one rural and one urban county in Denmark, were asked to fill in a self-administered, validated questionnaire on lower urinary tract symptoms. Logistic regression analysis was performed to assess the relationship between LUTS, bothersomeness, age, and county residency. Symptom scores and bother scores were compared in order to obtain a valid measure of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS).
Results. The prevalence of LUTS occurring more than weekly was 27.8% (95% CI: 26.2%–29.4%) and 16.1% (95% CI: 14.8–17.4) had urinary incontinence. The prevalence of stress incontinence increased from at 40 years up to the age of 55 years (OR=1.9 (95% CI: 1.3–2.7)) and declined thereafter. Irritative symptoms such as urge incontinence and urgency steadily escalated in an almost linear fashion with increasing age ((OR=2.7 (95% CI: 1.6–4.5) and OR=2.1 (95% CI: 1.5–2.8), respectively). Incontinence symptoms were the most bothersome. Age was positively associated with most LUTS, but not with bothersomeness. County residency was not associated with LUTS.
Conclusion. Women aged 40–60 years frequently have bothersome lower urinary tract symptoms. Age, but not county residency, is an important factor associated with the occurrence of lower urinary tract symptoms in perimenopausal women. LUTS occurring more often than weekly seem to be the most appropriate single measure of LUTS.