Incontinence may be inherited, study finds

12th May 2011

A study has shown that both daytime and night-time incontinence could be attributable to genetics.

Researchers at a German University conducted a study with more than 8,000 British children and found that they were three to ten times more likely to suffer from incontinence issues if either of their parents had done so.

The study involved parents completing questionnaires regarding their own incontinence after the age of five, and data was obtained from the children at the age of seven-and-a-half.

It found that the children were significantly more likely to wet the bed, or suffer bladder control issues during the day, if their mother had similar problems as a child, and even more so if their father had suffered with incontinence.

Another recent study, reported by Reuters, looked at urinary incontinence in twins and found that problems could be attributed to genes in 51 per cent of cases in women. It also discovered that an overactive bladder, which can lead to urinary incontinence, but not always, was more to do with lifestyle than genetics.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

1. Von Gontard, Alexander. "Family History of Nocturnal Enuresis and Urinary Incontinence: Results From a Large Epidemiological Study." Journal of Urology. June 2011
2. Wennberg, Anna-Lena. "Genetic Influences Are Important for Most But Not All Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms: A Population-Based Survey in a Cohort of Adult Swedish Twins." European Urology. 15th March 2011.

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