Many women occasionally have trouble with urinary incontinence. For some, the condition can be chronicand it can be embarrassing for anyone. Researchers in Norway looked into whether urinary incontinence has a genetic component.
What the researchers wanted to know: Are granddaughters, sisters, and daughters of women with urinary incontinence likely to be incontinent themselves?
What they did: The researchers used data on women who'd been involved in a study on the health of people who live in Nord-Trøndelag, a county in central Norway. The women filled out a questionnaire on urinary incontinence, and the researchers used a national registry to figure out who was related. They compared the risk of urinary incontinence in women whose mothers were incontinent to women whose mothers didn't have a problem. They did the same for incontinent older sisters.
What they found: Women whose mothers or sisters had urinary incontinence had a higher chance of being incontinent themselves than women whose mothers didn't have urinary incontinence. If both their mothers and grandmothers were incontinent, their risk was even higherabout 2.5 times that of women whose mothers and grandmothers weren't incontinent.
What the study means to you: It's interesting to know that urinary incontinence runs in familiesso you can probably blame part of it on your genes.
Caveats: It's possible that women who have a close relative with urinary incontinence would be more likely to notice symptoms themselves, but this seems pretty unlikely.
Find out more: Information on HUNT, which stands for Helseundersøkelsen (health study) i (in) Nord-Trøndelag...in English!
Read the article: Hannestad, Y.S., Lie, R.T., Rortveit, G., and S. Hunskaar. "Familial Risk of Urinary Incontinence in Women: Population Based Cross Sectional Study." British Medical Journal. Oct. 16, 2004, Vol. 329, pp. 889-891.
Article online: http://bmj.bmjjournals.com