Objectives. The American Urological Association Symptom Index (AUASI) has been reported to be nonspecific for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Comparable scores occur in patients with lower urinary tract symptoms of varying etiology, and even among women. The purpose of this study was to determine the association between the AUASI and urinary incontinence among community-dwelling men and women. Methods. In 1994, a randomly selected cohort of 1540 men and women aged 50 years or older from Olmsted County, Minnesota completed a self-administered questionnaire that assessed urinary symptom severity (AUASI score) and estimated the prevalence of urinary incontinence in the previous 12 months. The association between moderate to severe urinary symptom (AUASI score greater than 7) and urinary incontinence was investigated using multiple logistic regression, with adjustments for gender and age. Results. Mean and median AUASI scores increased with age, and were higher among those respondents with urinary incontinence and among men. All seven urologic items in the AUASI were more prevalent among respondents with urinary incontinence and among men. Nocturia was highly prevalent among respondents with and without urinary incontinence, but urgency, frequency, and weak urinary stream were more prevalent among respondents with incontinence than among respondents without incontinence. When urinary incontinence, gender, and age were considered simultaneously, the respondents with urinary incontinence (odds ratio [OR] = 4.4, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.4, 5.5), men (OR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.5, 2.5), and respondents 65 years or older (OR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.2, 1.9) were more likely to have moderate to severe urinary symptoms. Conclusions. Our findings suggest that men and women with urinary incontinence and older men and women are significantly more likely to have moderate to severe urinary symptoms. These findings suggest that urinary incontinence may contribute to a high AUASI score in both sexes. Thus, these data indicate that the similarity in the distribution of the AUASI in men and women is, in part, an artifact introduced by the confounding effects of continence status.
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