Symptom Improvement Is Worth a Lot To Women With Urinary Incontinence


ATLANTA — Women with urinary incontinence are willing to pay a substantial amount of money for symptom improvement, a new study shows.

The finding underscores the extent of the negative impact that incontinence has on quality of life, Dr. Leslee Subak said at the annual meeting of the American Urogynecologic Society.

A total of 300 women with varying degrees of urinary incontinence were surveyed to determine both the amount that women typically spend in the course of coping with their incontinence and the amounts they think they would be willing to spend to achieve 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% symptom improvement.

Overall, the women were willing to pay more than $800 per year for symptom resolution—an amount comparable to what those with other chronic medical conditions, such as migraine headaches and acid reflux, have said they would be willing to pay for symptom resolution, said Dr. Subak, an obstetrician/gynecologist at the University of California, San Francisco.

The median the women were willing to pay monthly was $20 for 25% improvement, $30 for 50% improvement, $40 for 75% improvement, and $50 for resolution.

African American women were willing to pay fivefold more than white women for symptom improvement, Hispanic women were willing to pay twofold more than white women, and those in the upper household income quartile were willing to pay twofold more than those in other income categories.

Costs associated with routine care for incontinence—such as for pads and laundry, also were higher for African American women, compared with white women.

Estimated weekly costs were a mean of $9.50 per week and median of $3.65 per week overall, Dr. Subak said, noting that African American women paid 80% more than white women, those with moderate and severe incontinence paid twofold more than those with mild incontinence, and those with urge incontinence paid 50% more than those with stress incontinence.

About 90% of the women studied had at least some cost associated with incontinence, she added.

The women, who were an average age of 56 years, were asked to quantify the weekly costs associated with their incontinence, and the figures obtained were multiplied by national resource costs to determine cost estimates.

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