Incontinence in children, adolescents and adults with Williams syndrome

Alexander von Gontard*, Justine Niemczyk, Sorina Borggrefe-Moussavian, Catharina Wagner, Leopold Curfs, Monika Equit

*Corresponding author for this work

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Aims Williams Syndrome (WS) is a microdeletion syndrome (chromosome 7q11.23) characterized by typical facial features, cardiovascular disease, behavioural symptoms, and mild intellectual disability (ID). The aim of this study was to assess the rates of incontinence and psychological problems in persons with WS. Methods231 individuals with WS were recruited through the German parent support group (52.0% male, mean age 19.4 years). Faecal incontinence (FI) was diagnosed from the age of 4 years and nocturnal enuresis (NE) and daytime urinary incontinence (DUI) of 5 years onwards. The Parental Questionnaire: Enuresis/Urinary Incontinence, the International-Consultation-on-Incontinence-Questionnaire-Pediatric LUTS (ICIQ-CLUTS), as well as the Developmental Behavior Checklist for parents (DBC-P) or for adults (DBC-A) were filled out by parents or caregivers. Results17.8% of the sample had NE, 5.9% DUI and 7.6% FI. NE was present in 44.9% of children (4-12 years), 13.5% of teens (13-17y), 3.3% of young adults (18-30y) and in 3.6% of adults (>30y). DUI (and FI) decreased from 17.9% (21.4%) in children to 0% in adults. 3.5% of the sample had an ICIQ-CLUTS score in the clinical range. 30.5% of children and 22.1% of adults had a clinical DBC score. Children and teens with clinically relevant DBC-P-scores had significantly higher DUI rates. ConclusionsChildren with WS have high rates of incontinence and LUTS, which decrease with age. Most adults are continent. NE is the most common subtype. Except for DUI in children, incontinence is not associated with behavioural problems. Screening, assessment and treatment of incontinence in individuals with WS is recommended. Neurourol. Urodynam. 35:1000-1005, 2016.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1000-1005
JournalNeurourology and Urodynamics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


  • behavioural symptoms
  • DBC
  • daytime urinary
  • faecal incontinence
  • incontinence
  • LUTS
  • nocturnal enuresis
  • Williams syndrome

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