Study of prevalence, treatment-seeking behavior, and risk factors of women with lower urinary tract symptoms in Northern Malaysia.
Low BY., Liong ML., Yuen KH., Chong WL., Chee C., Leong WS., Teh CL., Karim N., Yap HW., Cheah PY.
OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence, severity, and quality-of-life (QOL) impact of female lower urinary tract symptoms (FLUTS); to determine the patterns, reasons, and factors contributing to the women's treatment-seeking behavior; and to describe the relationship between the social demographic characteristics and FLUTS. METHODS: A total of 2732 women older than 19 years of age were recruited by a series of FLUTS Awareness Campaigns held within Northern Malaysia from January to August 2004. Trained interviewers used surveys to collect information on social demographic characteristics, International Prostate Symptom Score, and King's Health Questionnaire to determine the prevalence, severity, QOL impact, treatment-seeking behavior, and risk factors of FLUTS. RESULTS: The prevalence of FLUTS was 19.0% (n = 519), with 88.6% having moderate and 11.4% severe FLUTS. Using the International Prostate Symptom Score QOL assessment index, 55.3% (n = 287) scored 4 or greater. Using the King's Health Questionnaire, the most affected QOL domain was sleep/energy. The patterns of treatment-seeking behavior revealed that only 23.1% (n = 120) of patients with FLUTS actively sought treatment. The major reason for those (76.9%) who failed to seek treatment was that they did not perceive FLUTS as a major health problem (29.1%). Factors that warranted treatment were the severity, bother, and QOL impact of FLUTS (all P <0.001), hematuria (P <0.001), age (P <0.005), parity, body mass index, and suprapubic pain (all P <0.05). The risk factors for FLUTS (defined as an odds ratio of 2 or more) included age 50 years or older, parity of 4 or more, illiteracy, postmenopausal status, and the presence of one or more concomitant chronic medical illness. CONCLUSIONS: Despite the high prevalence of FLUTS in Northern Malaysia (19.0%), many patients do not seek treatment, with ignorance being the major reason.