Not So Happy With Troubled Bladders

Urinary problems can reduce quality of life

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Some adults can't wait very long between trips to the bathroom. Many can handle their condition better than others. But some might feel embarrassed and a few might even be depressed.

Urinary incontinence, or difficulty holding urine, may lower a person's quality of life. According to a recent study, doctors, nurses and other clinicians should identify and manage depression issues in patients being treated for urinary incontinence.

"Depression and incontinence both reduce quality of life," the researchers wrote.

"When these symptoms occur together, there is an additive impact which affects both physical and mental health, perhaps by increasing a person’s negative perceptions of their illness."

"Talk to a urologist about bladder control."

This study, led by Jodie Avery, a PhD candidate and senior research associate in the Discipline of General Practice at the University of Adelaide in Australia, looked at how urinary incontinence affected quality of life among individuals with depression.

The study included 3,010 South Australian participants who were interviewed in person in the 1998 Autumn South Australian Health Omnibus Survey (SAHOS).

The survey asked participants whether they ever lost urine when they did not mean to or if they had a sudden urge to go to the restroom and accidentally wet themselves before they could get to the toilet.

The survey also asked if participants accidentally lost urine while laughing, sneezing or coughing.

Participants' age, gender and geographic location were taken into account. The researchers also looked at participants' marital status, household size, country of birth and highest education level achieved.

The researchers found that 4.3 percent of respondents had urinary incontinence and depression together.

A little more than 20 percent of the participants had urinary incontinence, and about 15 percent had depression. In total, 4.4 percent of men and about 35 percent of women had incontinence.

Women were significantly more likely to experience incontinence. Those who were widowed or born in the UK or Ireland were also more likely to have experienced incontinence.

Among the respondents who had urinary incontinence, about 29 percent of the men and 20 percent of the women experienced depression or other symptoms.

Compared to patients who only had incontinence, participants between 16 and 34 years of age who never married were also significantly more likely to feel depressed if they also had urinary incontinence.

Urinary incontinent patients were less likely to feel depressed if they held at least a bachelor's degree, had a household income between $40,000 and $80,000 Australian dollars or did not state their income.

Among individuals with incontinence, the chance of having depression at the same time increased if their overall health status was fair or poor, or if they felt that their incontinence was moderately or very serious.

Incontinence is a problem that is being noted among women with increasing frequency, according to Andre Hall, MD, a board certified obstetrician/gynecologist and dailyRx Contributing Expert. He said the condition is often caused by delivering a large number of babies or large babies in general.

"These women are often depressed as incontinence significantly impacts one's quality of life with major preparation being required before attempting even routine activities or attending events," Dr. Hall said. "Both the depression and the incontinence need to be addressed for optimal results of treatment."

The authors noted that they relied on participants accurately reporting their urinary incontinence symptoms. In addition, the participants might not have experienced urinary incontinence and depression at the time the survey was given.

The study will be presented at the World Continence Week June 24-30. It was published online in the journal BMC Urology in February. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
June 19, 2013
Last Updated:
August 12, 2013