Washington: A study of twins at the University of Gothenburg and Karolinska Institutet (Sweden) has revealed that genetic factors can explain half of people``s susceptibility to urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is very common, especially among women, with around one in three affected at some point in life. Incontinence, overactive bladder and other lower urinary tract symptoms can be caused by factors such as old age, excess weight, pregnancy and childbirth, as well as stroke and other neurological disorders.
By comparing the prevalence of these symptoms in identical twins, who have identical genes, and non-identical twins, who share half of their genetic material, the researchers were able to draw conclusions about the relative significance of genetic and environmental factors. "With urinary incontinence, we saw that just over half of the variation (51 percent) can be explained by genetic factors," says Wennberg. "This doesn``t mean that half of all people with urinary incontinence inherit it from their parents, but that around 50 percent of people``s susceptibility to urinary incontinence can be explained by their genes." Genes also turned out to be significant for nocturia – the need to get up in the night to urinate. In this case, around a third (34 percent) of the variation has a genetic explanation. Wennberg does not believe that there is a single incontinence gene, rather that a number of different genes play a role. These genes combine with various environmental factors or cause disorders, which, in turn, increase the risk of urinary incontinence. "Urinary incontinence is a multifactorial condition, and while we now know that much of the variation between people is down to their genes, treatment will continue to focus on environmental factors which are easier to influence, such as smoking and excess weight."ANI
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