Stress Urinary Incontinence Affects 1 in 3 Women

Author: American Urological Association Foundation
Published: 2011/05/16 - Updated: 2022/07/26
Peer-Reviewed: Yes
Contents: Summary - Main - Related Publications

Synopsis: An estimated one in three women experience stress urinary incontinence (SUI), a condition characterized by an involuntary loss of urine due to forces on the bladder. The Monograph, titled "Stress Urinary Incontinence: Monograph from the AUA Foundation," provides a breadth of information about SUI, including symptoms, risk factors, prevalence, and common myths associated with the condition. The new Monograph highlights ways to prevent or manage the symptoms of SUI, including lifestyle changes, urinary control devices, or surgery.

Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence (UI), also known as involuntary urination, is any uncontrolled urine leakage. There are four main types of urinary incontinence:

  • Urge incontinence due to an overactive bladder.
  • Mixed incontinence involving features of different other types.
  • Overflow incontinence due to either poor bladder contraction or blockage of the urethra.
  • Stress incontinence due to a poorly functioning urethral sphincter muscle (intrinsic sphincter deficiency), hypermobility of the bladder neck, or urethra.

The term enuresis is often used to refer to urinary incontinence primarily in children, such as nocturnal enuresis (bed wetting).

Main Digest

An estimated one in three women experience stress urinary incontinence (SUI), a condition characterized by involuntary loss of urine due to forces on the bladder caused by physical movement of the body.

Although SUI can interfere with the quality of life, it is often left untreated due to the personal nature of its symptoms which leave women feeling embarrassed about their bodies and hesitant to discuss or report their urinary leakage.

To bridge this communication gap, the American Urological Association (AUA) Foundation issued a new Monograph today to encourage women and their healthcare providers to have open discussions about SUI and to empower women to make lifestyle changes to decrease their risk of this condition and understand that they are not alone if they have SUI.

Monograph

The Monograph, titled "Stress Urinary Incontinence: Monograph from the AUA Foundation," provides a breadth of information about SUI, including symptoms, risk factors, prevalence, and common myths associated with the condition.

By making this important information accessible to the public, the AUA Foundation is committed to advancing the understanding of SUI, reducing the stigma associated with its symptoms, and stimulating women to seek treatment.

"The prevalence of SUI is jaw-dropping and costs society an estimated $8 billion annually1, yet similar to the subject of erectile dysfunction, it is still not openly discussed in public and even among some healthcare providers," stated AUA Foundation Executive Director Sandra Vassos, MPH. "The information presented in the Monograph is intended to help women recognize that SUI is more common than they may think, and to encourage them to open up about their experiences with SUI to understand the condition better."

Symptoms of SUI

Symptoms of SUI vary widely from light to heavy leakage, which may occur during rigorous activity or natural reflexes, such as playing sports or coughing. Still, in more severe cases, leakage may occur due to low-impact movements, such as standing up, walking, or bending over. Because these symptoms often lead to feelings of isolation, they may interfere with women's day-to-day activities, impact their relationships, and prevent them from opening up about their condition. As a result, many women with SUI may miss important opportunities to learn more about SUI and manage its symptoms.

The new Monograph highlights ways to prevent or manage the symptoms of SUI, including lifestyle changes, urinary control devices, or surgery. Some women are only bothered by heavy or large amounts of leakage, whereas others are bothered by any leakage. Women often manage SUI using mini, sanitary, or incontinence pads.

Also outlined in the Monograph is information about certain risk factors associated with SUI that, once understood, may help to prevent the incidence of SUI in some women. For instance, overweight and obese women are more prone to SUI, and evidence shows that weight loss may improve urinary incontinence in obese women. Therefore, women with SUI need to maintain a healthy weight.

The full Monograph can be accessed at www.UrologyHealth.org/SUI/find-healthcare-provider-resources.html

Additionally, the "It's Time to Talk about SUI" campaign includes informative resources about SUI, patient and physician materials, and an online interactive assessment tool specifically for SUI, which can be found at www.UrologyHealth.org. The campaign's resources are made possible by a grant from the Poise® and Depend® brands.

To eliminate the stigma associated with SUI and provide facts about the condition, the AUA Foundation assembled an independent panel of female urologists and healthcare professionals in the spring of 2011. These individuals volunteered to review scientific information and clinical guidelines and share their professional experiences concerning SUI as the basis for the AUA Foundation's "It's Time to Talk About SUI" campaign.

The AUA Foundation recently launched the "Urology for Women Initiative" to bring greater focus to the urology needs of women and help provide them with vital information about what urological conditions affect women - from urinary tract infections, overactive bladder, yeast infections and stress urinary incontinence to various forms of cancer - as well as how they affect women and what are the most current treatments for the conditions.

The AUA Foundation is the world's leading non-profit urological health organization and the official foundation of the American Urological Association. They aim to promote health, provide hope and promise a future free of urological disease.

Reference

1. Hu TW. The economic impact of urinary incontinence. Clin Geriatr Med. 1986 Nov;2(4):673-87

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Attribution/Source(s):

This peer reviewed publication pertaining to our Female Health section was selected for circulation by the editors of Disabled World due to its likely interest to our disability community readers. Though the content may have been edited for style, clarity, or length, the article "Stress Urinary Incontinence Affects 1 in 3 Women" was originally written by American Urological Association Foundation, and submitted for publishing on 2011/05/16 (Edit Update: 2022/07/26). Should you require further information or clarification, American Urological Association Foundation can be contacted at urologyhealth.org. Disabled World makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith.

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