Question: Is urinary incontinence associated with falls in community-dwelling older people? Design: A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies investigating falls and urinary incontinence. Participants: Community-dwelling older people. Outcome measures: Falls rather than fracture or injury, and any type of urinary incontinence. Results: Odds ratios of nine studies were included in the meta-analysis. The odds of falling were 1.45 (95% Cl 1.36 to 1.54) in the presence of any type of urinary incontinence. The odds of falling were 1.54 (95% Cl 1.41 to 1.69) in the presence of urge incontinence. The odds of falling were 1.11 (95% Cl 1.00 to 1.23) in the presence of stress incontinence. The odds of falling were 1.92 (95% Cl 1.69 to 2.18) in the presence of mixed incontinence. Conclusion: Urge urinary incontinence, but not stress urinary incontinence, is associated with a modest increase in falls. Falls prevention programs need to include an assessment of incontinence and referral for interventions to ameliorate the symptoms of urge incontinence.
Australian Journal of Physiotherapy Vol. 55, Issue 2, p. 89-95