U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

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Urologic Disorders

Urologic disorders encompass illnesses and diseases of the genitourinary tract. Some examples include urinary incontinence, urinary tract infection, sexually transmitted diseases, urolithiasis (kidney stones), and kidney and bladder cancer. Many of these disorders affect a large number of adult women; annual Medicaid expenditures for urinary incontinence and urinary tract infections among adult women total more than $234 million and $956 million, respectively. These same illnesses accounted for $39 million and $480 million in expenditures, respectively, for adult men.1 Urinary incontinence is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in the United States and is generally more common among women than men.ibid

In 2005–2006, 38.4 percent of women and 11.7 percent of men aged 20 years and older reported that they had urinary leakage less than once a month or more frequently.

Among women, urinary leakage was most common among those aged 45–64 and 65 years and older (49.1 and 46.4 percent, respectively), compared to 27.8 percent of women aged 20–44 years. In addition, 21.6 percent of women with urinary leakage reported that it affects their daily activities at least a little, compared to 14.5 percent of men (data not shown). Among women with urinary leakage, 38.7 percent reported that it occurred less than once a month, while 28.3 percent reported occurrence a few times a month. Nearly 16 percent of those with urinary leakage reported that it occurred a few times a week and 17.2 percent experienced leakage every day and/or night.

Urinary incontinence also varied by race and ethnicity. More than 40 percent of non-Hispanic White women reported urinary leakage, followed by 36.6 percent of Hispanic women. Non-Hispanic Black women were least likely to report any leakage (29.4 percent; data not shown). Among women with urinary leakage, the frequency of occurrence and effects on daily activities did not vary by race and ethnicity, indicating that the impact of the condition is universal.

1 Litwin MS, Saigal CS, editors. Urologic Diseases in America. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, national Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney diseases. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2007; NIH Publication No. 07-5512.

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