Urinary incontinence (UI) is a frequent midlife problem that disproportionately affects women. While a number of effective treatments exist for UI, women can be inhibited in seeking care for this problem. This study proposes to explore racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, and educational level disparities in treatment seeking behavior for UI over time using 10 years of annual questionnaire and physical measures data from the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN), a multi-racial/ethnic, community-based, prospective cohort study of women transitioning through menopause. With longitudinal logistic regression and discrete proportional hazards statistical modeling, we will analyze the complex interplay between demographic characteristics and longitudinal changes in UI characteristics, economic, social psychological, and health factors that may affect: 1) not seeking UI treatment and reported reasons for not seeking treatment from health care providers, and 2) the types of treatments prescribed for and tried by community-dwelling midlife women who do seek UI care. With information from this study, public health educators can target messages to specific groups with bothersome UI symptoms at risk for not accessing UI care. For health care providers, a better understanding of what factors make a woman more or less likely to report UI to them and try their recommended treatments will allow them to improve and individualize assessment of and treatment plans for their incontinent patients.
Urinary incontinence (UI) is a frequent midlife problem that disproportionately affects women, and while a number of effective treatments exist, women can be inhibited in seeking care for this problem. This longitudinal study proposes to explore racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, and education level disparities in treatment seeking behavior in community-dwelling women transitioning through menopause. More detailed knowledge about demographic, economic, social, psychological and health factors that may change across time affect whether or not women seek UI treatment can help public health educators and health care providers develop strategies to reduce disparities in treatment seeking behavior.