The number of people with lower urinary tract symptoms may rise 18% over the next decade.

PARIS—Investigators are predicting a significant increase in the number of individuals with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) over the coming decade.

Current estimates put the number of individuals worldwide with any LUTS at 1.93 billion in 2008. This number is expected to increase to 2.106 billion in 2013 and 2.277 billion in 2018.

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In terms of specific symptoms, the estimated number of individuals with overactive bladder (OAB), 455 million in 2008, is predicted to rise to 500 million in 2013 and 545 million in 2018. Similarly, the estimated number of persons with urinary incontinence (UI) in 2008 is 346 million, with projections of 383 million by 2013 and 420 million by 2013. The data were reported at the Fourth International Consultation on Incontinence.

Zoe Kopp, with Pfizer Inc., and colleagues elsewhere estimated the current and future number of individuals worldwide who will develop LUTS, including OAB and UI, as those conditions are currently defined by the International Continence Society (ICS).

The researchers used prevalence data derived from the EPIC study, a population-based telephone survey of men and women aged 18 years or older in five countries. Participants were asked multiple questions about LUTS and the degree of symptom bother.

“The prevalence rates of LUTS, UI, and OAB are inconsistent due to a lack of uniformity in symptom assessment questions, mode of questionnaire administration, populations studied, and criteria used to define LUTS,” Kopp and her colleagues wrote in their poster presentation.

To date, there have been a limited number of epidemiologic studies that apply the current ICS definitions of LUTS.

Assuming LUTS prevalence rates remain stable over the next decade, the number of individuals with LUTS is expected to rise 18% compared with current figures.

The data additionally revealed that the stress form of UI is the most common type of UI in 2008 and is likely to remain so in 2018.

Kopp and her group emphasized that because the analysis is an estimate of the number of individuals with LUTS based on a conservative prevalence rate, the future number of individuals with “certain” LUTS may surpass those of this report.

What’s more, with the overall aging of the population, the prevalence of LUTS can be expected to rise as other factors related to LUTS, such as obesity, increase.