SUFU 2021: Toileting Behavior in the Gig Economy: Understanding the Genitourinary Impact For the New Workforce

( The authors note that there is very little data on genitourinary habits of those engaged in gig work. Gig workers have limited access to restrooms, work in a business where profit is based on timely production, and this industry lacks consistent labor protections. The objective was to determine whether gig workers experience a self-reported change in urinary symptoms after starting a sedentary versus active gig position.

This was a cross-sectional survey of adult gig workers recruited from a national registry of research volunteers. Participants completed an online questionnaire on toileting behaviors, bowel and lower urinary tract symptoms, and specific information about their gig position. Workers were grouped into two cohorts: sedentary, defined as ride-share drivers, and active workers, including delivery service, elder and child care, and labor-based tasks.  

555 participants completed the survey, with 65% identifying as female (mean age 39.8 [SD -/+ 14.2]). 51% reported their gig position as their primary form of employment. Active workers trended towards a lower BMI and were younger than sedentary workers. Approximately 14% of respondents were uninsured, with only 0.5% obtaining insurance from their gig position. In a comparison of 91 sedentary and 464 active workers, a significant difference in urinary symptoms was not observed.  (OR 0.99, (95% CI 0.59-1.68, p=0.996)). While there appears to be little change in bladder symptoms for workers, irrespective of job type, this data begins to understand the effect of the gig economy of urinary symptoms. 

Presented by: Parisa Samimi, MD, Leah Chisholm, MD, Zhiguo Zhao, MS, Tan Ding, MS, W. Stuart Reynolds, MD, MPH, Vanderbilt University Medical Center 

Written by: Diane K. Newman, DNP, ANP-BC, FAAN, Adjunct Professor of Urology in Surgery, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania and Co-Director of the Penn Center for Continence and Pelvic Health during the 2021 Society of Urodynamics, Female Pelvic Medicine & Urogenital Reconstruction (SUFU) Winter Meeting