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Urinary incontinence in Emirati women with diabetes mellitus type 2: prevalence, risk factors and impact on life


  • Wegdan Bani-issa PhD, RN,

    Assistant Professor, Corresponding author
    1. Department of Nursing, University of Sharjah, College of Health Sciences, Sharjah, UAE
    • Correspondence: Wegdan Bani-issa, Assistant Professor, Department of Nursing, College of Health Sciences, University of Sharjah, P.O. Box: 27272, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Telephone: +971 6 505 7522.


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  • Randa Fakhry BScN, MPH,

    1. Department of Nursing, University of Sharjah, College of Health Sciences, Sharjah, UAE
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  • Fida Al Momani PhD, MS, BDS

    Assistant Professor
    1. Department of Allied Health, Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbed, Jordan
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Aims and objectives

To evaluate prevalence, risk factors for urinary incontinence and its impact on lives of Emirati women with diabetes mellitus type 2 (DM2). Risk factors examined were age, parity, history of urinary tract infections, body mass index (BMI) and DM2 duration.


Incontinence is a known complication of DM2 with impact on women's lives. Less is known about incontinence problem among Emirati women with DM2.


A cross-sectional survey design using probability sampling approach was employed to assess urinary incontinence in Emirati women with DM2.


A total of 300 women with DM2, aged 20–65 years, were recruited from six healthcare centres. Data were collected over an 18-month period. A standardised incontinence questionnaire was used to assess type and frequency of incontinence within the past 12 months. Presence of weekly incontinence was the main outcome.


Of the 300 women, 188 (63%) reported any incontinence, of which 48% had at least weekly episode. Both stress (n = 154, 51·3%) and urge (n = 181, 60·3%) were reported by participants, with 48 (31·1%) reporting at least weekly stress and 85 (46·9%) expressing at least weekly urge incontinence. Diabetes duration was a significant risk factor for any, stress and urge incontinence followed by age for only any and stress incontinence. BMI was a risk factor for urge incontinence. Women perceived incontinence as bothersome, disturbing their social activities and daily prayers.


The prevalence of incontinence in Emirati women with DM2 is higher than that reported by women in other cultures. Risk factors identified were DM2 duration, age and obesity. Emirati women found incontinence to be a bothersome problem influencing their daily lives and prayers.

Relevance to clinical practice

Nurses in general practice should be alert to the incontinence problem by considering it as part of the routine diabetes evaluation of women, especially of those with longer duration of diabetes, obese and older. Cultural knowledge, sensitivity and individualised treatment plans need to be adopted by nurses working in the UAE to encourage the reporting of incontinence by Emirati Muslim women with DM2.