Study Investigates Familial Risk

Published Online: Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Urinary incontinence runs in the family, especially for women whose mother or older sisters shared the condition. Norway researchers examined the risk of urinary incontinence in the daughters, granddaughters, and sisters of >2000 incontinent women and compared it with the risk for almost 6000 women with continent relatives. The family-related risk was present for both symptoms of stress and urge incontinence.

The results, reported in the British Medical Journal (October 16, 2004), showed that daughters of mothers with urinary incontinence had a 1.3-fold risk of being incontinent. If mothers had acute symptoms, their daughters had a 2- fold risk of such symptoms. The study also indicated that women had a 1.6-fold increased risk of urinary incontinence if their older sisters were incontinent.

"The symptoms of urinary incontinence are likely to have a complex cause, and known risk factors such as increasing age, pregnancy and childbirth, and high body mass index may further increase the risk among women with a genetic predisposition," the researchers concluded.

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