With Nearly Half of All Females Suffering from the Embarrassing Condition, Early Treatment is Needed to Prevent Problems Later in Life
More than 40 percent of women in the UAE suffer from urinary incontinence, an embarrassing condition that causes the involuntary leakage of urine.
According to a global study published by the Joanna Briggs Institute, an international non-profit research and development center at the University of Adelaide in South Australia, 42.2 percent of women in the Emirates have urinary incontinence. This compares with 44 percent in France, 42 percent in the UK, 30.9 percent in China and 23 percent in Spain.
Dr. Zaki Almallah, a consultant urologist and physician in the Surgical Subspecialties Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, one of the region’s leading multispecialty hospitals, said urinary incontinence was a major issue in the UAE because many women suffered in silence and did not seek medical attention for the condition.
“It’s embarrassing for many women because wetting oneself continues to be a taboo subject,” Dr. Almallah said. “But the earlier women report the condition to their physicians, the easier the treatment will be and the success rate will be higher.”
There are two main types of urinary incontinence. The most common is stress urinary incontinence (SUI), which occurs when the bladder is under increased pressure through coughing, sneezing, laughing or exercising. SUI is mainly caused by pregnancy and multiple childbirths, which can weaken a woman’s pelvic floor muscles.
Urge urinary incontinence (UUI), also known as an overactive bladder, is when a person suddenly needs to urinate and often leaks urine in public or while they are sleeping. UUI can be caused by an overactive muscle and spasm of the bladder.
While it is a common belief that urinary incontinence is caused by aging, this is not always the case and many younger women can suffer from SUI and UUI, or even a combination of the two, which is known as mixed urinary incontinence.
“Urinary incontinence can have a negative impact on a person’s lifestyle because of the social stigma attached to it. Not only can it affect social and personal relationships, it can also hinder physical activity, affect a woman’s career and socially isolate them as they are too worried to go out as they fear wetting themselves in public.
“Many women suffer in silence, but this is unnecessary as there are several effective treatment options, including medication and surgery, that will greatly improve their quality of life.”
“It is important to remember that if you seek help as early as possible, this will prevent future problems and you can probably correct it with exercises. But if it is more advanced, it will be more difficult to treat.”
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Bladder Center, which comes under the Surgical Subspecialties Institute, offers sufferers of urinary incontinence a range of treatments, including female bladder slings, Botox bladder injections and sacral neuromodultion, which involves electrical stimulation therapy.
November is Bladder Health Awareness Month and Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has launched an education campaign to help the public understand the importance of managing their bladder health.