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Depression, Urinary Incontinence Tied?

Study: Women With Urinary Incontinence More Likely to Be Depressed
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

March 20, 2006 -- Women with urinary incontinence are more likely than other women to be depressed, a new study shows.

The mix of depression and urinary incontinence is worse than either condition alone and doctors "need to be attentive to these findings," write the researchers. They included Simone Vigod, MD, of the University of Toronto.

"It is imperative that women with either condition be screened for the other, no matter what their age group might be," Vigod's team writes in Psychosomatics.

Between 10% and 50% of all women experience urinary incontinence at some point in their lives, according to background information in Vigod's study. Depression is also common, affecting more than 9% of U.S. adults in any given year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

About Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is the inability to hold your urine until you get to a restroom. The condition is twice as common in women as in men, is often temporary, and can happen for various medical reasons, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Although urinary incontinence becomes more common with age, it's not a normal part of aging.

Types of urinary incontinence include:

  • Stress incontinence: Leaking urine due to movements such as coughing, laughing, or sneezing.
  • Urge incontinence: Losing urine for no apparent reason while suddenly feeling the need or urge to urinate. Also known as 'overactive bladder.'
  • Functional incontinence: Having problems thinking, moving, or communicating in time to reach a toilet.
  • Overflow incontinence: Having a full bladder that leaks urine due to overflow.

Patients often don't mention incontinence to their doctors, but speaking up is the first step to treatment.

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