Bacterial vaginosis implicated in urinary incontinence

19 Aug 2022
Bacterial vaginosis implicated in urinary incontinence

Urgency urinary incontinence is common among women with bacterial vaginosis, according to a study.

The study used data from American women enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2001 to 2004. Bacterial vaginosis was assessed using self-collected vaginal swabs, whereas urinary incontinence was determined by self-report. Researchers utilized multivariable logistic regression models to estimate the association between bacterial vaginosis and urinary incontinence.

In total, 31.3 percent of female respondents tested positive for bacterial vaginosis. These women were more likely to report stress urinary incontinence (22.78 percent vs 17.79 percent), urgency urinary incontinence (12.86 percent vs 7.26 percent), and mixed urinary incontinence (7.35 percent vs 4.42 percent) compared with those without bacterial vaginosis.

Adjusted analysis showed that the presence of bacterial vaginosis was associated with 47 percent greater odds of urgency urinary incontinence (odds ratio, 1.47, 95 percent confidence interval, 1.07–2.17; p=0.0160).

Bacterial vaginosis showed no relationship with urinary incontinence and mixed urinary incontinence.

The researchers acknowledged that the cross-sectional nature of the present study prohibited the conclusion of causality. Additional basic and cohort studies are needed to examine the association of bacterial vaginosis with urgency urinary incontinence.

Bacterial vaginosis is characterized by disturbed vaginal microbiota, and its association with the condition of unintentional passing of urine is postulated to start with an increase in the pH of the vagina because of reduction of vaginal lactobacilli-producing lactate and hydrogen peroxide as well as frequent sexual intercourse, among others. [J Glob Infect Dis 2009;2:151-152]

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