Relationship between urinary incontinence and back or pelvic girdle pain: a systematic review with meta-analysis


Introduction and hypothesis

Many observational studies have suggested the existence of a link between urinary incontinence (UI) and lumbopelvic pain. The aim of our study is to evaluate the association between UI and back pain (BP) or pelvic girdle pain (PGP) in the adult population.


This systematic review with meta-analysis was registered in PROSPERO under the number 2019:CRD42019120047. Literature was sought in the Medline, Embase, and PEDro databases. The search was limited to English, Spanish, and French records, and was conducted from inception until November 2019. Observational studies evaluating the association between UI and BP/PGP were selected by two independent reviewers. Quality assessment was performed using the “Critical Review Form for quantitative studies” (McMaster University).


From the 2,055 retrieved articles, 18 were selected. Both qualitative (n = 18) and quantitative analysis (n = 7) were performed. Fifteen out of 18 studies (83%) found a positive association between UI and BP or PGP for at least one type of incontinence. Pooled estimates were OR 1.61, 1.53, and 1.51 for stress, urgency, and mixed urinary incontinence respectively. A similar degree of association between women and men was found. Subjects with stress and mixed incontinence showed greater likelihoods of mild pain compared with severe pain, although severe pain was more frequently associated with urgency incontinence than mild pain.


Our results support the association between UI and BP/PGP, which seems to be independent of gender-based differences. The strength of this association depends on pain or incontinence subtypes. Clinicians should be aware of the relationship in their clinical practice.

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Author information




J. Bertuit: protocol/project development, data collection and management, manuscript writing; M. Rejano-Campo: protocol/project development, data collection and management, data analysis, manuscript writing; E. Bakker: project development, data management, manuscript writing.

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Correspondence to Montserrat Rejano-Campo.

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Bertuit, J., Bakker, E. & Rejano-Campo, M. Relationship between urinary incontinence and back or pelvic girdle pain: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Int Urogynecol J (2021).

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  • Association
  • Relationship
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Pelvic girdle pain
  • Low back pain
  • Back pain