Urinary incontinence and depression often go together in older women. The natural conclusion to draw from this is that becoming incontinent makes people depressed but new research from the University of Washington in Seattle suggests that it might actually be depression that makes people incontinent. Researchers looked at information from the ongoing Health and Retirement Study which covers 70,000 households. They looked at women who started the study with depression to see if they developed incontinence and at women who started the study with incontinence to see if they became depressed. The study found that there was a strong 'pathway' leading from depression to incontinence but that incontinence did not lead to depression. Serotonin is known to play a role in both depression and bladder function so it could be that the physiological changes produced by depression also affect people's bladders.
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