In 2010, there are around 4.2 million Australians aged 15 years and over living in the community with urinary incontinence, and 1.3 million with faecal incontinence. In total, 4.6 million people or 21% of the community population have urinary or faecal incontinence, or both. The prevalence rate is much higher in the Residential Aged Care (RAC) population, where 70.9% or almost 129,000 residents have urinary or faecal incontinence (or both).
The prevalence of incontinence is known to increase with age, more than half of individuals are aged 50 years and above. Women are more likely to have incontinence, in fact, 80% of those with urinary incontinence in the community are women. Moreover, over half of women living in the community with incontinence are aged under 50 years – some 1.7 million women.
It is projected the number of people (aged 15 years and above) with urinary incontinence living in the community will rise to 5.6 million in 2030 and 1.8 million with faecal incontinence (6.2 million with any incontinence). The number of individuals in RAC with incontinence is expected to rise to over 250,000. The projected rise in prevalence reflects demographic ageing, and assumes a policy-neutral environment. The rise in the number of Australians with incontinence is depicted in Chart i.
In 2010, the total financial cost of incontinence (excluding burden of disease) is estimated to be $42.9 billion, or approximately $9,014 per person with incontinence.