It is astounding to me how many ads are coming up for incontinence pads and undergarments. Accidental bowel leakage and urine leakage are certainly significant problems faced by many women. While it is certainly appropriate to increase public awareness of these common problems, the implication with pads and undergarments designed for incontinence is that it is simply something one must live with, and these products will help with that. Many women are afraid or embarrassed to admit that they are having leakage. Worse, many women believe that it is simply a natural part of aging and there is nothing that can be done. The truth is that it is possible to treat leakage problems successfully, and while no one treatment can guarantee success, the fact that we have many options makes it much more likely that there will be at least a significant improvement in leakage and many times it will cease completely. Urogynecologists see this as a primary mission: improve women’s quality of life by successfully treating leakage problems. About $1.5 billion dollars per year are spent on incontinence products (pads, undergarments) in the USA!!!! One and a half BILLION dollars in sales of pads and adult diapers in the US alone. This may be great for companies like Procter and Gamble, but it means that there are a lot of women out there who are not getting treated for leakage.
What can be done about incontinence??
- Physical therapy has a 70% chance of improving or resolving leakage
- A weight loss of 7% can result in a 70% decrease in leakage episodes
- Timed emptying of the bladder and proper fluid management strategies can result in a significant reduction of leakage.
- Medications, as appropriate, can dramatically improve problems with certain types of leakage
- Procedures for cases of urine leakage that occur with physical straining (laughing, coughing, sneezing) have anywhere from 60-90% chance of drastically reducing or curing it.
- Procedures for cases of urine leakage due to urgency or overactive bladder have a 60-80% chance of drastically reducing or curing it.
This information should be on TV and the Internet as often as the commercials for Poise, Always, Depends, and the like. This is important stuff, and should not be relegated to the occasional fluff piece on Dr. Oz or some other medical talk show. I don’t understand why the newscasts and regular talk shows aren’t making more of a big deal about this. Ellen needs to get some women on to talk about leakage and treatment. The Talk, The View, and even CNN and MSNBC and Fox should dedicate a little time to this subject. After all, if 30% of women have an ongoing problem with leakage, wouldn’t you think that there are at least a few on TV who are experiencing it? Do you think they want to deal with pads every day?
Laughing and sneezing shouldn’t be cause for alarm, and knowing where every bathroom is within a 20 mile radius should only be something done by GoogleMaps.
Tell your friends, there is more to be done than giving up and using pads forever!
If you want more information on accidental urine or bowel leakage, call 561-701-2841 or visit the website www.drlindakiley.com
Linda Kiley, MD
Dr. Kiley is a Board Certified subspecialist in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, and is also Board Certified in general Obstetrics and Gynecology.