Some women unintentionally leak urine and while this may feel embarrassing, Urinary Incontinence is luckily a treatable condition.
24 June 2021| Last updated on 30 June 2021
If you have stress incontinence, you may feel embarrassed, isolate yourself, or limit your work and social life. This condition may also force you to avoid physical and leisure activities.
With treatment, you'll likely be able to manage stress incontinence and improve your overall well-being.
Here's what Dr. Labib Riachi, Consultant Gynaecologist at Mediclinic City Hospital, has to say.
What is Stress Urinary Incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is the unintentional loss of urine. Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) happens when physical movement or activity — such as coughing, laughing, sneezing, running or heavy lifting — puts pressure (stress) on your bladder, causing you to leak urine.
Stress incontinence is not related to psychological stress and is different from urgency incontinence and overactive bladder (OAB). People with OAB have an urgent, "gotta go" feeling that they can't control. Some people with OAB leak urine when they feel that urge.
What is the difference between SUI and OAB?
The difference between SUI and OAB is anatomical. SUI is a urethral problem while OAB is a bladder problem. With SUI, the urethra cannot stop the sudden increase in pressure. With OAB, the bladder spasms and squeezes uncontrollably.
But luckily help is round and there are different treatments available on depending on the severity of the incontinence.
Below is a patient testimonial of one of Dr. Labib's patients who suffered this embarrassment for 21 years, and was only to be able to live and laugh freely now.
"My symptoms began right after child birth, 21 years ago. I was unable to live a normal life with my child or do the fun things without the thought of the stress incontinence embarrassing me.
I did reach out to the physiotherapy as advised by many around me – which didn’t make the issues go away completely but made it manageable. I was able to control the incontinence while I would cough or sneeze but unable to hold on when in rush or while doing simple exercises.
The embarrassment or consciousness of leaking when I sneeze, cough, dance or even laugh would still be there.
In 2013, I decided to go through surgery– only to find out after surgery that my symptoms had worsened, it made me go a back to square one, back to where I was when I delivered by child. To have to go through the anxiety of surgery and recovery only to find out that I was back to where it all started was very depressing and emotional. A very very difficult time in my life.
I went on to see multiple doctors from thereon who just were not able to help, seeing that I already had a surgery done before. They said they could not do anything to help me.
I even seeked help in UK – but no one could help me.
And then one day I received a SMS about Dr. Labib Riachi, Consultant Gynaecologist visiting Mediclinic City Hospital and I researched and read about him and thought I should go and see him. And I am glad I did. From there on there was no looking back.
It was from the very first appointment and after so many disheartened doctors’ appointments, I left his consultation room, with hope and confidence that I can get better, I can go back to living my life completely. I can dance, jump, exercise and even laugh without the fear of embarrassment.
I had tears in my eyes when I left his room after the first consultation, he never said – I cant help you. He looked at my situation, heard my story, asked me questions and then discussed what his plan of treatment was.
He explained that he would first need to do a couple of tests and if I clear these then the surgery would definitely work.
I had these test done numerous time and is the most embarrassing test – Urodynamics. But he made it so comfortable, and made me go through this like a breeze.
He explained everything so thoroughly, so I was aware about everything that he had in mind. Never seen a doctor so transparent. Even before surgery, he gave me a copy of it so I can read and understand what I was going through. He would even respond to my numerous Whatsapp messages.
After my surgery, once I was back home and recovered, I was having dinner with my family, And something came up and I laughed, laughed so hard that my belly was aching. But then I still went to the bathroom to check myself – and I was dry. I don’t remember when was the last time I laughed wholeheartedly, without causing myself a leak.
I love to dance, but could never dance before without planning or the fear but now - I can dance without hesitation.
Dr. Labib is my angel – he transformed my life."