Background: Urinary incontinence is a common problem among older women. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of urinary incontinence among older women aged 55 years and over in the Klang valley, the most densely populated urban area in Malaysia, and to determine any potential ethnic differences.
Methods: This study used cross-sectional data from the Malaysian Elders Longitudinal Research (MELoR) study. A total of 863 participants were included, with a mean age of 67.97 ± 7.50 (S.D.). They were selected by simple random sampling from the electoral rolls of three parliamentary constituencies.
Results: The prevalence of urinary incontinence was 30.8%. Mixed urinary incontinence (UI) was present in 44.7%, stress UI in 39.1% and urge UI in 16.2%. Ethnic Malays (38%) were more likely than ethnic Indians (32.3%) and Chinese (29.7%) to have UI. Ethnic Malays were also more likely to have stress UI and Indians were more likely to have urge UI .
Conclusion: The prevalence of UI in this study was comparable to other Asian and worldwide studies. The significant association between ethnicity and UI, however, has not been reported in any previous studies. Further studies should identify factors which may determine these ethnic differences in UI.