34-year-old Shraddha (name changed) was brimming with joy when she became a mother for the first time. She enjoyed the joys of motherhood, until, she began to notice urine leakage after the delivery. Shraddha had developed SUI (stress urinary incontinence).
Due to the stigma attached to it, Shraddha was initially embarrassed to talk to the family and kept the issue to herself. Things became so serious that she began to avoid social interactions. While doing research how to do away from this problem, she found about SPARSH Hospital. After undergoing a simple surgery, Shraddha resumed her usual activities within just 7 days.
The scenario was even worse for 72-year-old Asha (name changed), who suffered from SUI for more than 25 years. Despite her age, she was an active lady, with interests in swimming and other physical activities. However, SUI was holding her back from living the life she was living. When she went to SPARSH Hospital, Dr Madhusudhan Naidu recognised the symptoms for the problem and convinced her to go for surgery. Just after a month, Asha was back to doing what she loved the most; swimming. “For years on, I was suffering in silence since I was not comfortable talking about the problems I faced. The surgery changed my life for the better,” Asha was quoted as saying.
SUI is a common disease amongst women over 30. It is the involuntary leakage of urine during physical movements or activities like sneezing or coughing. Women suffering from SUI have difficulty in controlling the flow of urine during activities such as walking, running or jumping. SUI is one of the most commonly found urinary incontinence in pregnant women and postpartum.
What are the factors that cause SUI?
Loss of pelvic floor muscle support to the urethra leads to stress urinary incontinence. Ageing, pregnancy, childbirth, genetic factors mental stress are some of the commonly found symptoms. Chronic cough, obesity and repetitive heavy lifting, could also be some factors responsible for SUI.
When should help be sought?
A leak once a year or during a laughing feat, is not alarming. However, if someone can’t take a short walk without leaking in their pants, then a doctor should be consulted for treatment. While stress urinary incontinence can seem very bothersome, it can be effectively cured with a simple procedure. Women suffering from SUI are advised to visit a uro-gynaecologist at the earliest.
Can men develop SUI?
While SUI is more prevalent in women, men can also suffer from SUI. Men, who undergo prostate surgery, may experience this problem.
What are the treatment options for SUI?
Although pelvic floor exercises can help SUI-affected patients, surgery is observed to be a fool-proof way to cure SUI. In the surgery, a plastic or mesh is placed to support the bladder. The maximum recovery time is one week.
(Disclaimer: The writer is Dr Madhusudhan Naidu, a consultant at SPARSH Hospitals. The Views expressed are personal opinion.)