UI Information

Facts, statistics, and other general information about incontinence and incontinence products.

Economic Costs of UI

  • The 1995 societal cost of incontinence for individuals 65 years of age and older was $26.3 billion, or $3565 per individual with urinary incontinence. Most of the total cost is associated with direct treatment, such as the cost of diagnostic testing and medication.
  • The cost of OAB is 12.6 billion in year 2000 dollars. $9.1 and $3.5 billion, respectively, was incurred by community and institutional residents.
  • Nearly half of the costs of UI are for medical services paid by Medicare.
  • The cost of caring for UI and OAB in nursing facility patients is an estimated $5.3 billion.
  • Kimberly Clark was quoted in a Nonwovens Industry (March 2001) article projecting that in the year 2005, the U. S. retail and institutional sales of the manufacturer would reach $2.1 billion and global sales would hit $5.8 billion. Kimberly Clark is believed to have approximately half of the market (in 2001, its share of the adult incontinence market was 52.4%).
  • The same 2001 Kimberly Clark article stated that the U.S. adult incontinence retail/home care market grew 3.1% to reach $594 million in 2000, according to Information Resources Inc. of Chicago. This figure does not reflect institutional sales to hospitals and nursing homes. Nearly a decade earlier, Theta Corporation reported that the retail and home care market was $275 million, including briefs, underpads, inserts/liners, and other undergarments for absorption. In that year, the institutional sector was recorded at $465 million, or a total market size in the U. S. of $740 million. This represents an 8.9% average annual increase in the retail market between 1991 and 2000. Applying the same rate to the following six years between 2000 and 2006 would put today’s U.S. retail/home care market at about $991 million.

Facts and Statistics

Incontinence Facts and Statistics:

  • The International Continence Society (ICS) defines incontinence as the involuntary loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • Urinary Incontinence (UI) is a stigmatized, underreported, under-diagnosed, under-treated condition that is erroneously thought to be a normal part of aging.  One-third of men and women ages 30-70 believe that incontinence is a part of aging to accept.
  • Information on healthy bladder function can help promote the understanding that incontinence is not a normal part of aging but a symptom of another problem.
  • The social costs of UI are high and even mild symptoms affect social, sexual, interpersonal, and professional function.

General Prevalence:

  • UI affects 200 million people worldwide.
  • Based on expert opinion, 25 million adult Americans experience transient or chronic UI. NAFC estimates that 75-80% of those sufferers are women, 9-13 million of whom have bothersome, severe, symptoms.
  • Consumer research reveals that one in four women over the age of 18 experience episodes of leaking urine involuntarily.
  • One-third of men and women ages 30-70 have experienced loss of bladder control at some point in their adult lives and may be still living with the symptoms.
  • Of men and women ages 30-70 who awaken during the night to use the bathroom, more than one-third get up twice or more per night to urinate, fitting the clinical diagnosis of nocturia. Of these adults, one in eight say they sometimes lose urine on the way to the bathroom.
  • Two-thirds of men and women age 30-70 have never discussed bladder health with their doctor.
  • One in eight Americans who have experienced loss of bladder control have been diagnosed. Men are less likely to be diagnosed than women. Men are also less likely to talk about it with friends and family, and are more likely to be uninformed.
  • On average, women wait 6.5 years from the first time they experience symptoms until they obtain a diagnosis for their bladder control problem(s).
  • Two-thirds of individuals who experience loss of bladder control symptoms do not use any treatment or product to manage their incontinence.

UI Absorbent Products

  • The Founder and Executive Publisher, Al Neuharth, of USA Today, who in a September 20-22,2002 editorial revealed his own incontinence and use of absorbent products. In his essay, he quoted an estimated 1.69 billion adult diapers sold in that year in this country, compared to just 700 million ten years earlier, and only 392 some 20 years prior.
  • When NAFC surveyed our consumer subscribers over 7 years ago, about 60% (59.9%) said that they used some type of disposable liner or pad or underwear. It is noteworthy that at that time 26.8% of all women with incontinence said they used sanitary napkins and 17.4% of all women used tissues, paper towels, or toilet paper in lieu of any specially designed absorbent product. Similarly, 26.5% of all men who responded said they used reusable pads, diapers, or other reusable briefs. Again, in the same survey, the average respondent claimed to have spent $946 managing incontinence (including absorbent products, inserts and pessaries) in the past year, although 57.0% indicated they had spent less than $500 a year. Those are 1999 numbers.