Medical Experts say Awareness Alone can fight Stress Urinary Incontinence

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Pune, 8th September, 2018:
There are some medical conditions about which women keep mum. For, they find it too much of an embarrassment. Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is one such condition which affects millions of women across the world.

It is really difficult to pinpoint the accurate number of women affected by SUI, particularly, in a country like India, where such conditions often go unreported. Yet, some studies suggest its prevalence in India is about 12%.

Healthcare experts estimate that 20.8% women over the age of 45 experience SUI worldwide. It could well be an under-reported figure, yet it only reveals one thing: That hundreds of thousands of women suffer in silence.

They put up with the problem either because they find it ‘below them’ to talk about it or for want to adequate awareness that it is a medical condition that can be easily corrected.

So, what is SUI?

International Continence Society (ICS) defines SUI as the complaint of involuntary leakage of urine during effort or exertion or during sneezing or coughing.

SUI, in fact, differs from Urge Incontinence, elaborated Dr.Sunita Tandulwadkar, STAR 2018 Organising Chairperson of the International Society for Gynaecologic Endoscopy (ISGE) regional conference – currently under way in Pune – themed Spaces, Techniques, Advances and Research (STAR 2018).

“Urge Incontinence is the loss of urine caused by bladder muscle contraction. It’s usually associated with a sense of urgency. But, SUI is much more common in women than men,”Dr.Tandulwadkar explained, adding: “Most SUI victims withdraw from social life and try to hide it from families, friends and doctors.”

It is embarrassment, misconception and ignorance that prevent women from seeking treatment. “Delayed treatment results in extended medical procedure besides depression impairing one’s social life and quality of living,” opined Star 2018 Chairperson.

SUI occurs when the muscles and other tissues which support the bladder (pelvic floor muscles) and muscles which regulate the release of urine weaken. “Age is one factor. Physical changes associated with aging may make one susceptible to SUI,” explained Indian Association of Gynaecological Endoscopists(IAGE), President Dr.Rishma Pai.

Childbirth can also trigger SUI because of tissue or nerve damage during delivery resulting in the poor function of pelvic floor muscles.“SUI from this damage may begin soon after delivery or occur years later,” added Dr.Pai.

Others vulnerable to this condition include those who are overweight or obese and women who have undergone hysterectomy. In men, the most common factor that leads to SUI is the surgical removal of prostate gland to treat prostate cancer.

This preventable condition, according to STAR 2018 Organising Secretary Dr.KiranKurtkoti, is a personal hygiene issue that results in social isolation, skin infections and kidney disorders.

“This can be treated easily and effectively with minimally invasive procedures. Technology is so much developed it offers faster recovery,” enthused Dr.Kurtkoti.

What Dr.Kurtkoti says is true. “Yet, technology can help only so much when awareness levels are deplorably low,” opinedDr. Manish Machave, STAR 2018 Organising Secretary.

“Awareness is the key because not many young women know what this issue is all about while older women think it’s quite normal with aging process. We need a new approach to tackle this pelvic problem,” added Dr.Machave.

The four-day conference concluding on Sunday must lead to greater public engagement and awareness. This ‘leaky’ issue, however, can be plugged only through sustained campaigns, agree medical experts.

About International Society for Gynaecologic Endoscopy:

Recognising the need for a scientific group that would meet at regular intervals to share knowledge and experience in the area of gynaecologic endoscopy, ISGE was formed in 1989 by a group of committed endoscopists from Europe and North America. Over the years, ISGE has grown in stature and status as a global entity since the world body now receives enthusiastic support and participation from all over the world.

About Indian Association of Gynaecological Endoscopists (IAGE):

The Indian association of gynaecological endoscopists (IAGE) is a national organization. The vision of IAGE is to serve women by practicing “Safe Endoscopy” and advanced therapeutic techniques that provide less invasive treatments for gynecological conditions.