Bladder Problems May Often Be Related to Mental Health

FRIDAY Oct. 23, 2009 -- Psychiatric disorders and sexual trauma in women increase the risk of lower urinary tract symptoms, such as incontinence and overactive bladder, a new study finds.

U.S. researchers analyzed the answers in two questionnaires -- the Urogenital Distress Inventory-6 and Incontinence Impact Questionnaire-7 -- completed by 121 female veterans referred to a specialized urology clinic for evaluation of lower urinary tract symptoms. The researchers also examined the women's mental health, history of sexual trauma, age, race and obstetric history. The women were compared to a control group of 1,298 women.

Compared to those in the control group, the women in the lower urinary tract symptoms group had higher rates of psychiatric disorders (64.5 percent versus 25.9 percent) and sexual trauma (49.6 percent versus 20.1 percent). Further analysis revealed that women who were younger than 50 and had a history of miscarriage had higher Urogenital Distress Inventory-6 scores, while those with psychiatric disorders and a history of miscarriage had higher Incontinence Impact Questionnaire-7 scores.

"This is the first study to our knowledge to characterize the association of psychiatric comorbidities and sexual trauma with the type, severity and quality-of-life impact of lower urinary tract symptoms in women using validated surveys. The prevalence of psychiatric comorbidities and sexual trauma is high in women veterans presenting for evaluation of lower urinary tract symptoms," wrote Dr. Adam P. Klausner, an associate professor and director of neurourology, female urology and voiding dysfunction at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, and colleagues.

The study was released online Oct. 22 in advance of publication in the December print issue of the Journal of Urology.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about urinary incontinence in women.

Posted: October 2009


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