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A Journal on Obstetrics and Gynecology

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Minerva Ginecologica 2007 October;59(5):491-8

language: English

Postpartum urinary stress incontinence: analysis of the associated risk factors and neurophysiological tests

Torrisi G. 1, Sampugnaro E. G. 1, Pappalardo E. M. 1, D’Urso E. 1, Vecchio M. 2, Mazza A. 3

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vittorio Emanuele Hospital, University of Catania, Catania, Italy
2 Physiotherapy Unit, Vittorio Emanuele Hospital, University of Catania, Catania, Italy
3 Department of Economics and Quantitative Methods, University of Catania, Catania, Italy


Aim. The aim of this paper is to estimate the prevalence of postpartum urinary stress incontinence (USI) three months after vaginal delivery and to analyze the risk factors more frequently correlated with USI. Pelvic floor neurophysiology was performed to assess pudendal nerve damage in symptomatic women.
Methods. A total of 562 women were interviewed and underwent urogynecological evaluation three days after vaginal delivery. They were contacted by telephone 12 weeks later. Chart abstraction was conducted to obtain obstetrical data. Three months after delivery women presenting persistent USI were invited to return for electrophysiological tests. Univariate and logistic regression analyses were performed to reveal any significant association between USI and risk factors.
Results. Prevalence of postpartum USI three days after delivery was 15%, decreasing to 10.6% at follow-up three months later. Multivariate analysis of risk factors revealed that persistent USI was significantly associated with: preconception USI (P<0.05), USI developed de novo after delivery (P<0.05), family history of incontinence (P<0.05), chronic cough (P<0.05) and smoking (P<0.05). No obstetric variables were independently connected with incontinence. Neurophysiological tests revealed nerve damage in 36% of the syntomatic puerperae.
Conclusion. Persistent postpartum incontinence is associated with several maternal and urogynecological risk factors that can help to detect women at risk for early intervention.

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