Don’t let incontinence destroy your life – it is curable

Old age, pregnancy, childbirth, obesity and genetic factors may all contribute to incontinence, which affects women more than men, may cause emotional damage, but is curable.

Although no official statistics are available, urinary incontinence is believed to affect at least one in 10 people globally. In SA, it affects at least 15% of women and is commonly treated at The Urology Hospital, Pretoria which conducts about 16 pelvic floor procedures on women each month.

Urinary incontinence is the leaking of urine that cannot be controlled, while faecal incontinence — also known as bowel incontinence — is the inability to control bowel movements, causing stool (faeces) to leak unexpectedly.

Many people who suffer from incontinence suffer emotionally and psychologically as this affects their social life and daily activities.

“But it is curable through changes in lifestyle or if necessary a relatively simple operation,” said the Urology Hospital’s Dr Paul Swart.

Dr Swart added that both men and women should not be ashamed of becoming incontinent but should seek professional help immediately.

Main causes of incontinence:

  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Old age
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Prostate cancer
  • Menopause
  • Obesity

Types of urinary incontinence:

  • Stress incontinence: Leaking a small or moderate amount of urine when coughing, sneezing or laughing.
  • Urge incontinence: Leaking a moderate to large amount of urine that is sudden and uncontrollable.

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