Stress Urinary Incontinence
Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is any involuntary leakage of urine due to a weakness in the pelvic floor muscles. SUI occurs when the sphincter, which acts like a valve to the bladder, cannot stay closed when there is pressure in the abdomen resulting in a small amount of urine leaking out.
“SUI has a devastating impact on a woman socially, psychologically and emotionally. Sometimes the condition can be so severe that many women stop venturing out of their house for fear of leaking involuntarily and start living an isolated existence. In India, SUI affects close to 22 million women, but due to lack of awareness and under-reporting because of the sensitivity attached to the condition, experts say the actual number could be much higher,” says Expert.
Also says “Stress Urinary Incontinence is not life threatening. However, it greatly impairs quality of life (QOL). By QOL we mean, social occupational, emotional and physical well being. SUI affects working women to a greater extent than homemakers as the impact on social functioning for these women is more. Normal vaginal delivery is the single most important reason for causing SUI with the first delivery causing the maximum damage. Pelvic floor exercises can be started during and immediately after pregnancy to strengthen the pelvic floor. However, it is important to note that patients with severe incontinence may not respond. Incontinence diapers and medicines are but a temporary solution if one wants to postpone surgery. Surgery done for mild to moderate incontinence works much better than that for severe incontinence. Hence it is always important to come in early for surgery. Incontinence is not a part of ageing and certainly not something a woman has to put up with.”
SUI Myths and Facts:
Myth: SUI is a normal part of the ageing process
Fact: Experts estimate that one in three women get SUI at some point in their lives. However, SUI can affect women of any age.
Although it is more common in women between the ages of 35 and 60, it is not a normal part of ageing. The weakening of the pelvic floor, connective tissues and muscle and happen as a result of pregnancy and childbirth, chronic heavy lifting or straining, menopause or obesity.
Myth: SUI is a temporary disorder that cures itself.
Fact: SUI is not a temporary condition and if left untreated for long, the condition can worsen.
Myth: Medication is better than surgery for treating SUI.
Fact: Doctors decide whether to recommend surgery or prescribe medication based on a patient’s medical history and the severity of the disease. While medication is used for disease management, surgery offers a permanent cure to the problem.
Myth: Surgery to cure SUI impacts a woman’s sexual relations.
Fact: There are various surgery options available to treat SUI such as TVT (Tension-free Vaginal Tape) and bladder neck suspension surgery among others to cure SUI. None of the surgeries for SUI impact a woman’s sexual relations.