Physical performance measures in older women with urinary incontinence: pelvic floor disorder or geriatric syndrome?

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Introduction and hypothesis: To evaluate physical performance measures of mobility and functional impairments and assess their association with urinary incontinence (UI) severity and impact on quality of life among older women with UI. Methods: In a cross-sectional pilot study, 20 women aged ≥ 70 years with UI completed UI questionnaires (Global Impression of Severity, Incontinence Impact Questionnaire [IIQ-7]) and functional status evaluation. Functional status evaluation included the Modified Physical Performance Test (MPPT; range 0–36), Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB; range 0–12), and other physical performance measures (e.g., Timed Up and Go [TUG]). MPPT and SPPB scores < 32 and < 10, respectively, indicated impaired mobility and function. Descriptive statistics and Spearman correlation coefficients evaluated study variables and associations between UI and physical performance measures. Results: Women were 76.6 ± 4.7 years old with mean body mass index 33.5 ± 9.0 kg/m2. Mixed UI was the most prevalent (n = 17; 85%), and 14 (70%) participants rated their UI as moderate or severe. Low MPPT (< 32) and SPPB (< 10) scores were present in 65% (n = 13) and 35% (n = 7) of participants, respectively. Lower MPPT score (r = −0.46; P = 0.04) and worse TUG performance (r = 0.50; P = 0.03) were associated with greater UI impact on quality of life based on IIQ-7. SPPB did not correlate (P > 0.05) with UI measures. Conclusions: Mobility and functional impairments are common among older women with UI. Associations between MPPT score and TUG performance with UI impact on quality of life suggest these physical performance measures could be markers of mobility and functional impairments in future research on UI in older women.

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