Prevalence of childhood trauma and its association with lower urinary tract symptoms in women and men in the LURN study

Neurourol Urodyn. 2021 Feb;40(2):632-641. doi: 10.1002/nau.24613. Epub 2021 Jan 28.


Aims: To describe the association between childhood traumas (death of a family member, severe illness, sexual trauma, parental separation) reported by women and men and lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS).

Methods: In this secondary analysis of the Lower Urinary Tract Research Network Observational Cohort Study, participants completed the LUTS tool, childhood trauma events scale (CTES), PROMIS depression and anxiety and perceived stress scale. LUTS tool responses were combined to quantify urinary urgency, frequency, incontinence, and overall LUTS severity. Multivariable linear regression tested associations between trauma and LUTS; mental health scores were tested for potential mediation.

Results: In this cohort (n = 1011; 520 women, 491 men), more women reported experiencing at least one trauma (75% vs. 64%, p < .001), greater than three traumas (26% vs. 15%, p < .001), and childhood sexual trauma (23% vs. 7%, p < .001), and reported higher impact from traumatic events compared with men (median [interquartile rnage] CTES score = 10 [5-15] vs. 6 [4-12], p < .001). The number of childhood traumatic events was not associated with severity of overall LUTS (p = .79), urinary frequency (p = .75), urgency (p = .61), or incontinence (p = .21). Childhood sexual trauma was significantly associated with higher incontinence severity (adjusted mean difference 4.5 points, 95% confidence interval= 1.11-7.88, p = .009). Mental health was a mediator between trauma and LUTS among those with at least one childhood trauma.

Conclusion: Although total childhood trauma is not associated with LUTS, childhood sexual trauma is associated with urinary incontinence severity. For patients with childhood trauma, half of the effect of CTE Impact score on overall LUTS severity is mediated through the association between trauma and the patient's mental health.

Keywords: childhood trauma; lower urinary tract symptoms; overactive bladder; posttraumatic stress disorder; urinary incontinence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms / etiology*
  • Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence