1. What is Urinary Incontinence?
It is the loss of control over urination. It may be of 2 types:
- Stress Urinary Incontinence: wherein small to moderate amount of urine leaks without control. This happens during increases pressure on the bladder for example; coughing, sneezing or laughing.
- Urge Urinary Incontinence: results in moderate to a large leak of urine when the bladder suddenly contracts without control. The lady typically complains that when her bladder fills up and she gets the urge, the urine seems to leak even before she reaches the toilet. This happens because of an Overactive Bladder. Many people with SUI also have an Overactive bladder and this is called Mixed Incontinence.
2. Some alarming facts about SUI:
- About1 in 3 women suffer from SUI at some point in their lives
- About 50% of them will also have urge incontinence
- 30% of women undergoing vaginal delivery will develop SUI within 5 years of delivery
3. Risk factors for developing SUI:
- Gender; females are more likely to develop SUI
- Vaginal delivery (more if forceps is used)
- Nerve injuries to the lower back
- A chronic cough
- Pelvic surgery
4. How does one gauge the severity of SUI?
As mentioned before, even in times of increased bladder pressure, the urine is not supposed to leak because of the muscles at the end of the urethra. However, because of weak muscles or loss of collagen, the sphincter becomes weak and the leak happens. The severity of the leak is quantified as follows:
- Grade 1: Leak happens on sudden forceful activities like sneezing, laughing or coughing
- Grade 2: Leak happens with less strenuous activities like standing up, walking or bending over.
- Grade 3: Leak happens even while lying down.The leaks can be restricted to a few drops or may wet the clothes.
5. How do I find out if I have SUI?
You will need to come in for an evaluation wherein we will ask you to fill in a specialized chart of symptoms. This will be followed by an examination and some tests to determine the exact problem. This entire process may also involve a meeting with a Urologist.