Screening for Urinary Incontinence

Clinical Recommendations

The Women’s Preventive Services Initiative recommends screening women for urinary incontinence annually. Screening should ideally assess whether women experience urinary incontinence and whether it impacts their activities and quality of life. The Women’s Preventive Services Initiative recommends referring women for further evaluation and treatment if indicated.

Implementation Considerations

The Women’s Preventive Services Initiative recommends screening women for urinary incontinence as a preventive service. Factors associated with an increased risk for urinary incontinence include increasing parity, advancing age, and obesity; however, these factors should not be used to limit screening.

Several screening tools demonstrate fair to high accuracy in identifying urinary incontinence in women. Although minimum screening intervals are unknown, given the prevalence of urinary incontinence, the fact that many women do not volunteer symptoms, and the multiple, frequently-changing risk factors associated with incontinence, it is reasonable to conduct annually.

Research Recommendations

1. Study the incidence and prevalence of urinary incontinence to better identify risk factors over the life course.

2. Assess whether there are racial and ethnic differences related to urinary incontinence.

3. Determine the efficacy of screening and treatment for urinary incontinence.

*These are the recommendations of the WPSI and not necessarily of any individual participating organization.