Urinary Incontinence in Women Over 50: National Poll on Healthy Aging

– Urinary incontinence is
the involuntary loss of urine and it’s a problem that’s
increasingly common as you get older. There is a perception that
it’s a normal part of aging but it’s really not, it’s
an important health issue that’s often overlooked
and that is why we decided to conduct a national poll
on healthy aging survey on this topic. What the national poll found
was that about half of women over age 50, who were surveyed,
had urinary incontinence and of those, about one in three had daily urinary incontinence. When we asked about when
common leakage occurred, a majority said with coughing or sneezing. Others reported leakage when
trying to get to a bathroom or during exercise. As we know, exercise is something that is very health promoting. To have something like
urinary incontinence, that limits exercise, is problematic. We found that women who
responded to the poll often have significant emotional stress regarding this condition. They commonly worry that it’s
gonna get worse with time and about 40% had concerns
about embarrassment, they worry that they
might have an accident when they’re out in public
and what to do about that. Sometimes they actually limit
going and doing activities because of fears regarding
their urinary continence. There are probably several
reasons why women may not choose to bring up their
urinary incontinence with a doctor. I think one reason is they feel like it’s a normal part of aging, that they just have to deal with, they might not be aware of
all of the treatment options that are out there. I think another reason is if their doctor doesn’t ask specifically about it, I think for some patients,
it’s really a difficult issue to bring up themselves. I think an important
take away for somebody with urinary incontinence is to know that this is not something to be ashamed of, it’s not something that they have to be embarrassed about, it’s very common and that there are very
good treatments out there. I would encourage them to
initiate that conversation with their primary care
doctor or their OB/GYN, so that they can get the
treatment that they need.

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