One in every five women in the age group of 30 to 60 suffers from it at some point of time in Mumbai, say urologists. And yet, women never discuss urinary incontinence, much less seek treatment for it. “Urinary incontinence is an embarrassing problem that most women choose to push under the carpet, not realising that simple medications or a small surgery can rid them of it for good,” said urologist Dr Sanjay Patkar.
The International Continence Society, along with the World Health Organization (WHO), has declared this week (June 21-27) World Continence Week, to promote awareness about the condition.
“Anyone can suffer from urinary incontinence, be it elderly patients,
males and females in the 30-45 age group or children, and can be caused by an overactive bladder, stress urinary incontinence or neurological problems,” explained Dr Anil Bradoo, urologist, Excel Urology Centre, Chembur. In an overactive bladder, even a small volume of urine signals the bladder to contract, creating a desperate urge to pass urine.
Stress urinary incontinence is far more common, particularly among women. “In stress incontinence, weak pelvic floor muscles causes you to ‘leak’ even when you cough or sneeze, or indulge in activities like walking, laughing, dancing etc,” explained Dr Bradoo, adding that at least 20% of urban women suffer from it at some point of time.
However, mild incontinence can easily be treated with medication, although severe incontinence might require a surgery. “Also, a simple test known as a urodynamic evaluation can diagnose the problem. However, there are only about ten-odd urologists in the city since only about 10 urodynamic machines exist currently in the city,” he said.