Skip to content

    Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Urinary Incontinence Runs in the Family

    Relatives of Incontinent Women More Likely to Share Problem

    WebMD Health News

    Oct. 14, 2004 -- Sisters and daughters of women with urinary incontinence are more likely to face the same problem as they get older, a new study shows.

    Urinary incontinence or loss of urine control is a common problem among women, especially among older women. It's a symptom of a problem in the lower urinary tract that can be caused by a variety of factors, such as childbirth, advancing age, obesity, and persistent bladder infections.

    But a Norwegian study shows that genetics may also play a role. Researchers found women whose mothers or older sisters were incontinent were 30%-60% more likely to develop urinary incontinence.

    Urinary Incontinence Runs in the Family

    In the study researchers followed more than 2,000 Norwegian women with urinary incontinence and their relatives and compared them with nearly 6,000 healthy women. The findings appear in the Oct. 16 issue of the BMJ.

    The study showed that women whose mothers had urinary incontinence were at 30% greater risk of being incontinent themselves. If the mother had severe symptoms, their daughters were also twice as likely to have severe urinary incontinence.

    In addition, researchers found that women had a 60% higher risk of urinary incontinence if their older sisters were incontinent.

    The study showed that the increased familial risk extended to both types of urinary incontinence, stress and urge.

    Stress urinary incontinence is the most common form of incontinence and is an involuntary release of urine when pressure is put on the abdomen, such as during exercising or sneezing. Urge urinary incontinence causes an urge to urinate even if the bladder only contains a small amount of urine.

    Today on WebMD

    womens restroom sign
    Symptoms, causes, and treatments.
    hand over mouth
    Test your urine knowledge.
     
    man breathing with mouth open
    Is it true that men can do kegels?
    bathroom sign running
    Assess your symptoms.
     
    woman holding water
    Slideshow
    Food That Makes You Gotta Go
    Slideshow
     
    Male Incontinence Slideshow
    Slideshow
    Mature woman standing among peers
    Article
     
    Worried in bed
    Article
    woman standing in front of restroom sign
    Slideshow
     
    various pills
    Video
    sitting in chair
    Article