World Journal of Urology

, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 351–357 | Cite as

Depression and incontinence

  • William D. Steers
  • Kyu-Sung Lee


 The urologic literature suggests that there is an association between a variety of psychiatric disorders and incontinence. Most notably, depression is found in a significant percentage of patients with urinary incontinence. Depression also occurs in other conditions associated with urinary urge incontinence, such as aging and dementia, and in neurologic disorders such as normal pressure hydrocephalus. Correction of some neurologic disorders eliminates both depression and urge incontinence. Although chronic medical disorders such as urge incontinence may lead to depression, an alternative hypothesis is that these two conditions share a common neurochemical pathogenesis. Lowering monoamines such as serotonin and noradrenaline in the central nervous system (CNS) leads to depression and urinary frequency and a hyperactive bladder in experimental animals. Thus, depression may not only be the result of persistent urinary incontinence, but individuals with altered CNS monoamines could manifest both depression and an overactive bladder. The latter condition may lead to urge incontinence, urinary frequency, urgency, or enuresis. Uncovering further evidence for such a linkage could serve as the basis for the development of genetic markers and novel therapeutic interventions for these two conditions.

Key words Serotonin Bladder Micturition 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • William D. Steers
    • 1
  • Kyu-Sung Lee
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Urology, Box 800422, University of Virginia School of Medicine, University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Charlottesville, Virginia, 22908, USA Tel.: +1-434-924-2224; Fax: +1-434-982-0243US
  2. 2.Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, KoreaKR

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