Urinary incontinence and quality of life: A longitudinal analysis from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing


      • Urinary incontinence is a common condition and associated in cross-sectional and case-control studies with a poor quality of life.
      • In the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) study, urinary incontinence, versus absence, at baseline was associated with a significant decline in quality of life over 10 years of follow-up.
      • The association was stronger in men than in women.



      To explore the longitudinal association between urinary incontinence (UI) and quality of life (QoL) in the English Longitudinal Study on Ageing, a large study of older UK adults with ten years of follow-up.

      Study design

      Cohort study.

      Main outcomes interest

      To determine the presence of UI, participants reported whether they had lost urine beyond their control in the last 12 months. Participants also reported whether UI lasted more than one month, indicating a more chronic problem. QoL was measured using the CASP (control, autonomy, self-realisation and pleasure)-19, with higher values indicating a higher QoL.


      Of the 8028 participants (mean age: 65.2 years; 56.7% females) included, 1172 reported UI at baseline. No significant differences in CASP-19 score were found at baseline (p = 0.24). In people with UI, a significant decline in CASP-19 score (from 34.3 ± 14.0 at baseline to 30.9 ± 16.1 in wave 7) (p = 0.016) was observed. The results were stronger in men than in women and with a longer duration of UI.


      UI was associated with poor QoL over ten years of follow-up in a large cohort of UK participants. Our findings further suggest the importance of UI as a potential risk factor for poor QoL.


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