Prevalence of Incontinence

Prevalence of Incontinence

If you or someone you care for is experiencing adult incontinence, you are not alone. Many millions of Americans are experiencing the same challenges. The International Continence Society (ICS) defines incontinence as the involuntary loss of bladder or bowel control.

How common is adult incontinence?


  • Urinary incontinence affects 200 million people worldwide
  • It is estimated that over 25 million people in the United States experience incontinence
  • At least 50% of all nursing home residents have urinary incontinence and many of them experience loss of bowel control as well
  • One in five adults over age 40 is affected by overactive bladder or recurrent symptoms of urgency and frequency
  • More than 5.5 million Americans have fecal incontinence


  • The condition is far more prevalent in women than men – 85% of them are women
  • As many as 53% of women over 50 are affected by adult incontinence
  • 10% to 40% of women older than 18 are affected
  • 26% of women of reproductive age experience incontinence on occasion
  • 12.6% of healthy women, 16 to 30 years of age experience AI
  • 20% of women with urinary incontinence also have bowel control problems because of underlying pelvic floor dysfunction


  • 22% of men over 65 experience incontinence
  • Only 2% of men under 65 experience incontinence

Information Resources

American Foundation for Urologic Diseases:
National Association for Continence:
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse:
National Women's Health Information Center:
Simon Foundation for Continence:
“Managing incontinence: A 2-visit approach,” Journal of Family Practice, September 2012, Vol. 61, No.9. Association of Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders, Inc (AGMD):

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