Categorized | Bladder Health

One-Third of Women Experience Stress Urinary Incontinence

About one in three women experience stress urinary incontinence (SUI), an involuntary loss of urine due to forces on the bladder caused by physical movement of the body.  Even though SUI can interfere with quality of life, it often goes untreated because of the personal nature of the symptoms.  Any women feel embarrassed about their bodies and are reluctant to discuss or report urinary leakage.

For these reasons, the American Urological Association (AUA) Foundation issued a new Monograph, titled “Stress Urinary Incontinence: Monograph from the AUA Foundation,” a few months ago to encourage women and their healthcare providers to openly discuss SUI and to empower women to make lifestyle changes to decrease their risk of this condition and understand that they are not alone if they experience SUI.  The monograph provides information about SUI, including symptoms, risk factors, prevalence and common myths associated with the condition.  It highlights the fact that overweight and obese women are more prone to SUI, and evidence shows that weight loss may improve urinary incontinence in obese women.  The monograph also provides ways to prevent or control the symptoms of SUI, including lifestyle changes, urinary control devices or surgery.  Women can manage SUI by using mini pads, sanitary pads, or incontinence pads.

AUA Foundation Executive Director Sandra Vassos, MPH, reported that the prevalence of SUI costs society an estimated $8 billion annually.  Symptoms of SUI vary widely from light to heavy leakage, which may occur during rigorous activity or natural reflexes, such as playing sports or coughing.  In more severe cases, leakage may occur due to low impact movements, such as standing up, walking or bending over. Because these symptoms often lead to feelings of isolation, they may interfere with women’s day-to-day activities, impact their relationships, and prevent them from opening up about their condition. For these reasons, many women with SUI may miss important opportunities to learn more about SUI and manage its symptoms.

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