Lifewatch: Urinary incontinence

Reported by Claire Hosmann - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

(WECT) - Urinary incontinence can be an embarrassing problem to have and keeps many people from seeking help.  But the truth is, it's very common and one simple treatment option can restore the quality of life that was once lost.

In women, physical changes resulting from pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause often contribute to urinary stress incontinence.

For 35 years, Lorene Delino and her husband have been serving up fresh seafood from the Gulf at Holly Beach Seafood.  This type of work involves a lot of manual labor, which is something that has taken its toll on Lorene's body.

"Lifting crab boxes, shrimp, everything - 50 pounds of shrimp, 20 pounds of shrimp," said Lorene.

Lorene began having her fist issues with urinary stress incontinence about 15 years ago.

Dr. William Groves said the condition is especially common in women who have had children or have gone through menopause.

"Loss of urine or loss of control of urine with standing, coughing, sneezing, straining - any increase in abdominal pressure," said OB-GYN Dr. Groves.

While one in four women over the age of 18 experience episodes of leaking urine, the topic is something that many women feel too embarrassed to address.

"A lot of patients live with it, just thinking that it's normal, thinking that maybe it happened to their sister or their mom and they don't really want to bring it up," said Groves.

When Lorene finally decided to talk to Dr. Groves about her problem, he told her that there was a simple fix that could return her to a normal routine.

"The surgical treatment is what we call a mid-urethral sling, placing a small synthetic piece of mesh under the urethra to support the urethra during straining and coughing and sneezing and exercises," said Groves.

The mesh allows tissue to grow around it and hold it in place.  Lorene had the outpatient procedure and said she can't believe she waited so many years to have it corrected.

"Oh, it changed my quality of life," said Lorene.  "As far as myself, it changed everything. I feel good about myself. I can start exercising again, just everything."

To control this problem you can also maintain proper fluid intake.  Drinking too much can make you urinate more frequently, but not drinking enough can lead to a concentration of waste which irritates the bladder.

Also, smoking can lead to a sever chronic cough, which can aggravate the symptoms of stress incontinence.