How often have you coughed or laughed too hard, and experienced a urinary leakage, but were too embarrassed to tell anyone? Well, you're not alone!
In the United States alone, it is estimated that there are about 10 - 20 million women suffering from the involuntary loss of urine. In Singapore, about 15% of women suffer from stress urinary incontinence. Yet few women are talking about it, being too embarrassed to mention it even to their friends or doctors. Most adapt by altering their lifestyles so as to avoid embarrassment, thinking that incontinence is a normal process of ageing.
You may experience leaking of urine with exercise or exertion that increases intra-abdominal pressure. These include aerobics, running, and even laughing, coughing or sneezing. Different women have different degrees of leakage - some suffer only a few drops, others leak in spurts. Some may leak so frequently that they need to wear sanitary pads everyday or change their lifestyles to reduce the chance of embarassing themselves.
Stress urinary incontinence is caused either by the weakening of the pelvic floor support, which results from pregnancy, childbirth and menopause, or by the intrinsic loss of normal urethral function. Conditions that increase the intra-abdominal pressure may further worsen the problem, like obesity, prolonged coughing, constipation and heavy lifting.
The following tests may be ordered for you:
Yes. It can be divided into conservative and surgical treatment. There are at present, no effective drugs in treating stress urinary incontinence.
The objective of the operation is to restore urinary continence. If you also have an associated uterovaginal prolapse, you may be advised to have a hysterectomy and pelvic floor repair as well.
The main types of surgery are:
Stress urinary incontinence can be cured or improved. Please do not suffer in silence. See your doctor early for assessment and advice.
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