High costs of urinary incontinence among women electing surgery to treat stress incontinence

Academic Article


  • OBJECTIVE: To estimate costs for incontinence management, health-related quality of life, and willingness to pay for incontinence improvement in women electing surgery for stress urinary incontinence. METHODS: A total of 655 incontinent women enrolled in the Stress Incontinence Surgical Treatment Efficacy Trial, a randomized surgical trial. Baseline out-of-pocket costs for incontinence management were calculated by multiplying self-report of resources used (supplies, laundry, dry cleaning) by national resource costs ($2006). Health-related quality of life was estimated with the Health Utilities Index Mark 3. Participants estimated willingness to pay for 100% improvement in incontinence. Potential predictors of these outcomes were examined by using multivariable linear regression. RESULTS: Mean age was 52±10 years, and mean number of weekly incontinence episodes was 22±21. Mean and median (25%, 75% interquartile range) estimated personal costs for incontinence management among all women were $14± $24 and $8 (interquartile range $3, $18) per week, and 617 (94%) women reported any cost. Costs increased significantly with incontinence frequency and mixed compared with stress incontinence. The mean and median Health Utilities Index Mark 3 scores were 0.73±0.25 and 0.84 (interquartile range 0.63, 0.92). Women were willing to pay a mean of $118±$132 per month for complete resolution of incontinence, and willingness to pay increased significantly with greater expected incontinence improvement, household income, and incontinent episode frequency. CONCLUSION: Urinary incontinence is associated with substantial costs. Women spent nearly $750 per year out of pocket for incontinence management, had a significant decrement in quality of life, and were willing to pay nearly $1,400 per year for cure. © 2008 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Subak LL; Brubaker L; Chai TC; Creasman JM; Diokno AC; Goode PS; Kraus SR; Kusek JW; Leng WW; Lukacz ES
  • Start Page

  • 899
  • End Page

  • 907
  • Volume

  • 111
  • Issue

  • 4