Indore: Lack of voluntary control over urination or defecation, medically known as incontinence, is one of the major problems of ageing, as one out of every six people above the age of 40 years suffers from the problem.
Urinary incontinence, described as any accidental or involuntary loss of urine from the bladder occurs due to overactive bladder (OAB). Urologists believe that owing to the lack of awareness about the fact that OAB is curable and there are numerous treatment options available to get rid of it, the number of patient having OAB is on the rise, as they continue to live with the disease in secret.
“It is estimated that one in six people over the age of 40 suffers from an overactive bladder (OAB) and the incidence increases with age. OAB is a problem wherein bladder-storage functions become impaired, resulting in a sudden urge to urinate. In some cases, the urge could be so strong that it can result in leakage before you reach the bathroom,” Dr Sushil Bhatia, urologist in Choithram Hospital, said.
He also cautioned that urinating for more than eight times a day could be a potential sign of overactive bladder.
Aimed at raising awareness about incontinence and related issues, World Continence Week (WCW) has been observed world over from Monday to Sunday in the last week of June every year after it was first ever initiated in 2008 in Cairo, the Capital of Egypt.
This year’s theme for WCW, scheduled from June 19 to 25 is ‘Incontinence: No laughing matter’, rightly chosen to combat the social response of laughing at the problem, accepting it as an inevitable part of childbirth or ageing, not a health issue requiring specialist treatment.
“Though very common, people hesitate to discuss it with their doctor due to taboo and embarrassment. It can have a very negative impact on a sufferer’s quality of life. It leads to low self-esteem and social isolation. But, it is a medical problem,” said Dr Chandrashekar Thatte, urologist in Medicare Hospital.
Awareness is critical when it comes to reducing the stigma associated with incontinence and other bladder health conditions and symptoms, say the experts. With OAB, the bladder works overtime, contracting more often than it should and at inappropriate times. The bladder muscles seem to give wrong messages to the brain causing the bladder to feel fuller than it actually is. The bladder contracts too early when it is not even full.
Informing about the ways of self-diagnosis, the urologists said the first step to detect OAB is to keep an eye on how often one urinates, how much urine one passes every day and the intensity of urge to empty each time by the patient itself.
“When treated, OAB can be managed well and symptoms significantly reduced. There are numerous ways to treat OAB, including lifestyle, diet, medication and surgery,” Dr Thatte added.