Incontinence is a urological medical condition that affects many throughout the world. It is the loss of voluntary control over urination for any number of reasons. This lack of bladder control can result in embarrassment and feelings of shame among those suffering from it, and severely affects the quality of their life. Urinary incontinence can occur at any age, in both men and women, and can be caused due to a number of factors.
Urge Incontinence – Loss of bladder control is preceded by an intense sudden urge to urinate.
Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) – This type of incontinence is due to physical stress putting pressure on the bladder, resulting in urine leakage.
This type of incontinence is one of the most common variations of involuntary loss of bladder control. In Stress urinary incontinence (SUI), any type of physical activity or exertion can lead to urine leakage. This is due to the increased abdominal pressure that happens during such activities such as jumping, coughing or even laughing, which in turn exposes bladder to increased pressure as well. This ‘stress’ caused by these physical activities leads to urinary leakage. There is no warning before the leakage of urine happens.
Depending on the situation and individual, urine might leak out in small amounts or empty the bladder completely. In SUI, the leakage of urine happens without the contraction of bladder muscles and there is no discernible urge to urinate that the individual can anticipate.
Stress Urinary Incontinence is a very common condition among women, which is often under-reported due to the associated shame and sense of embarrassment. Nearly one out of every three women have stress incontinence, but less than half of them ever discuss their symptoms with their physician or seek help. They go through their lives struggling to deal with the significant negative impact that SUI has on the quality of their lives.
Women who play sports such as running, jumping and a lot of physical strain report some leakage of urine at least half the time when they are participating in these activities.
Stress incontinence can occur at any age, but increasing age is a significant factor in the development of SUI.
Stress urinary incontinence is a chronic medical condition that can severely affect the quality of life for women who have it. It has a direct negative impact on the lives of these women, as they have to deal with the inevitable leakage of urine every waking hour. Their lives become limited to deciding which activities they can do and to calculate how far the restrooms are from them at any given moment, whether at work, home, on a family day outing or simply running errands.
SUI makes women extremely conscious of their bodies. They learn the hard way to be extra mindful when they cough, sneeze, laugh, exercise, run or even bend over because they can’t be sure of what movement or action will result in unintended leakage of urine. This uncertainty of impending leakage of urine and the constant running to the bathroom throughout the day is not only a nuisance physically by causing exertion but also results in mental anguish and exhaustion.
In the beginning, women dealing with SUI will have to deal with wet pants, when they least expect it, as there is literally no warning before the involuntary leakage of urine happens.
SUI can affect the daily lifestyle of any woman, whether single or married, working or otherwise. It can lead to problems when dating, due to the heightened sense of self-scrutiny and shame, and the embarrassment associated with having to tell their partner about this intimate problem.
They feel they must be extra cautious during sex. This problem can even lead them to avoid intimacy completely in order to avoid any embarrassing accidents. As a woman with children, SUI can severely debilitate a mother’s active role as a parent. It becomes difficult to actively play with the children, especially outdoor activities, due to the constant fear of leakage, and having to locate the nearest restroom.