Incontinence takes mental toll on younger women

June 14, 2013

New research from the University of Adelaide shows middle-aged women are more likely to suffer depression from a common medical problem that they find too embarrassing to talk about: urinary incontinence.

However, help is available for women if they seek , researchers say.

In a study of the experiences of women with urinary incontinence, researcher Jodie Avery found that middle-aged women with incontinence (aged 43-65) were more likely to be depressed than (aged 65-89).

Speaking in the lead up to World Continence Week (24-30 June), Ms Avery says the younger women's self esteem is often hit hard by urinary incontinence, while older women tend to be more resilient and accepting of their condition.

"Women with both incontinence and depression scored lower in all areas of quality of life because of the impact of incontinence on their physical wellbeing," says Ms Avery, a and Senior Research Associate with the University's School of and School of Medicine.

"Key issues for affected by incontinence are family, and sport and leisure activities.

"The most common difficulties women express about their incontinence are things like: 'I can't play netball', 'I can't go to the gym', 'I can't go for walks', or 'I can't go dancing', and these are real issues for women who are still in the prime of their lives."

Urinary incontinence affects approximately 35% of the female population. The main cause in women is pregnancy, with the number of children they have increasing their chances of becoming incontinent.

"Our studies show that 20% of the incontinent population has depression, and this is something that we need both sufferers and GPs to better understand," Ms Avery says.

"Sufferers of incontinence are often reluctant to get help, but attitudes are slowly changing. It is very important for them to seek advice about their condition. In some cases, can be curable with an operation, and this is quite literally a life-changing operation for many women.

"GPs need to be aware that if their patient is suffering from incontinence, this condition is often linked with depression which needs to be treated to increase their quality of life.

"Ultimately, we hope that our research helps to raise awareness in the community about both the mental and physical issues associated with incontinence. We know it's embarrassing, but if you discuss it with your GP, your life really can change."

Explore further: Genes an important factor in urinary incontinence

Related Stories

Genes an important factor in urinary incontinence

April 4, 2011

Much of the risk of developing incontinence before middle age is determined by our genes. Genetic factors can explain half of people's susceptibility to urinary incontinence, a study of twins at the University of Gothenburg ...

Urinary incontinence doubles risk of postpartum depression

June 20, 2011

Women with urinary incontinence after giving birth are almost twice as likely to develop postpartum depression as those without incontinence, according to a new study led by Wendy Sword, a professor in McMaster University's ...

Bladder control an issue for young women

July 17, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Traditionally considered an older women’s condition, urinary incontinence (UI) affects one in eight healthy young women, causing depression in some, ‎according to a new study.

Long-term consequences of vaginal delivery

January 30, 2013

Women are more likely to experience urinary incontinence, prolapse and faecal incontinence 20 years after one vaginal delivery rather than one caesarean section, finds new research published in a thesis from Sahlgrenska Academy, ...

Recommended for you

Monkeys in Asia harbor virus from humans, other species

November 19, 2015

When it comes to spreading viruses, bats are thought to be among the worst. Now a new study of nearly 900 nonhuman primates in Bangladesh and Cambodia shows that macaques harbor more diverse astroviruses, which can cause ...

One-step test for hepatitis C virus infection developed

November 14, 2015

UC Irvine Health researchers have developed a cost-effective one-step test that screens, detects and confirms hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Dr. Ke-Qin Hu, director of hepatology services, will present findings at the ...

Computer model reveals deadly route of Ebola outbreak

November 10, 2015

Using a novel statistical model, a research team led by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health mapped the spread of the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, providing the most detailed picture to date ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.