Objective: To evaluate the prevalence of urinary incontinence, identify its risk factors and describe its effects on the life of women affected by it in an urban area in Burkina Faso. Patients and Methods: This prospective study was carried out between January and April 2003 and was based on interviews with 759 female patients presenting to the Department of Urology, Sanou Souro Teaching Hospital, and five other medical centers in the city of Bobo-Dioulasso. By means of a questionnaire we collected information on socio-demographic patient characteristics, history of previous surgical or gynecological interventions, type of urine loss and the effects of urinary incontinence on the patients' physical, psychological and economical condition. Results: The mean age of the patients was 29.8 years. The majority (63.6%) were housewives, 65.5% of them married. The overall prevalence of urinary incontinence was 21.3% with a predominance (54.6%) of stress urinary incontinence. Multivariate analysis of the risk factors (using the logistic regression model) showed that the following risk factors were significantly associated with urinary incontinence: dystocia, repeated urinary tract infections, chronic constipation, episiotomy and obesity. The physical and psycho-social effect of urinary incontinence on the patients is described. Conclusion: Urinary incontinence is frequently encountered in our environment although only few cases are seen in our gynecology and urology departments. A population-based investigation on a national scale will allow for a better judgement of the actual extent of the problem and will help to establish a strategy on how to better control it.
African Journal of Urology 11 (1) 45-54