|March 2002 · Vol. 14, No. 3
Physician questions incontinence statistics
In “Managing urinary incontinence: an expanding role for Ob/Gyns” [December], Alan Garely, MD, tells us of the millions and millions of women who suffer from incontinence. I am 69 years old and have been in practice in the same place for 36 years. Most of my patients are more than 40 years old. I have asked every patient in my care for the past 20+ years whether she is incontinent. The majority say no.
After I read the article, I decided to keep a list of the patients I saw. Of 32 women, 25 had no complaints of incontinence, and the remaining 7 had insignificant incontinence. Granted, this may not be an entirely valid sample, but is the estimate of “more than 20 million American women who suffer from some form of urinary incontinence” reproducible using strict scientific methods? Furthermore, nothing positive comes from denigrating ourselves for not curing incontinence that is either minor or misdiagnosed.