Saturday, March 13, 2010

All is NOT well

Studies suggest that one out of three women suffer from what is known as light bladder leakage.

Madhoo Sharma (name changed), 46, is an English teacher with a jolly personality. She is overweight at 120kg, and is embarrassed to attend social functions as she unknowingly passes urine whenever she sneezes or laughs loudly. She is one of the many women who suffer from urinary incursor incontinence, also known as light bladder leakage.

Hollywood comedienne Whoopi Goldberg, 54, has become a face of a new bladder control campaign and admits that she herself suffers from the problem. Goldberg has filmed a string of humorous short films, in which she plays a series of historical figures including Cleopatra and Joan of Arc all talking about bladder problems.

According to facts laid out by this bladder control campaign, this condition which has two types -- urinary incursor stress incontinence and urinary incursor urge incontinence --affects one in three women. Women aged above 40 are generally affected by this condition, but it has been observed that younger women have started facing this problem too.

Dr Sunita Tandulwadkar, head of the obstetrics and gynaecology department, Ruby Hall Clinic, explains, "As a woman's age advances and also after repeated childbirth, there can be a tearing of the supports of the pelvic floor leading to bladder leakage."

In older age, the content of the female hormone oestrogen is negligible in the body. This hormone is needed to keep the urethral sphincter closed. When this hormone is not present in adequate quantities in the body, the sphincter tends to open, leading to uncontrolled urine leakage. "When a woman facing this problem, coughs or sneezes, the intra-abdominal pressure is exerted on the sphincter, leading to leakage," informs Tandulwadkar.

Dr Ashwini Bhalerao Gandhi, consultant gynaecologist, says, "Due to this condition, the daily routine of the women is affected. But women tend to suffer and neglect the problem." She adds that when such a problem is faced, the woman should immediately consult a gynaecologist and ascertain what the problem is about. "There could be other reasons apart from urinary incursor incontinence for leakage. It could also happen due to urinary or vaginal infection," says Dr Gandhi.

"This condition, if present on a smaller scale, can be controlled by exercises such as kegels, self-control and by drinking adequate water," says Dr Meenakshi Deshpande, gynaecologist, Vatsalya Hospital.

(Published in DNA, Pune on March 8, 2010.)

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