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: Bladder control an issue for young women

Related Stories

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.

Regaining control: new study sheds light on incontinence

September 5, 2011
An Australian study has revealed that as many as one in eight healthy young women have urinary incontinence (UI).

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, ...

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 ...

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 ...

Recommended for you

MRSA emerged years before methicillin was even discovered

July 19, 2017
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) emerged long before the introduction of the antibiotic methicillin into clinical practice, according to a study published in the open access journal Genome Biology. It was ...

New test distinguishes Zika from similar viral infections

July 18, 2017
A new test is the best-to-date in differentiating Zika virus infections from infections caused by similar viruses. The antibody-based assay, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley and Humabs BioMed, a private biotechnology ...

'Superbugs' study reveals complex picture of E. coli bloodstream infections

July 18, 2017
The first large-scale genetic study of Escherichia coli (E. coli) cultured from patients with bloodstream infections in England showed that drug resistant 'superbugs' are not always out-competing other strains. Research by ...

Ebola virus can persist in monkeys that survived disease, even after symptoms disappear

July 17, 2017
Ebola virus infection can be detected in rhesus monkeys that survive the disease and no longer show symptoms, according to research published by Army scientists in today's online edition of the journal Nature Microbiology. ...

Mountain gorillas have herpes virus similar to that found in humans

July 13, 2017
Scientists from the University of California, Davis, have detected a herpes virus in wild mountain gorillas that is very similar to the Epstein-Barr virus in humans, according to a study published today in the journal Scientific ...

Vaccines protect fetuses from Zika infection, mouse study shows

July 13, 2017
Zika virus causes a mild, flu-like illness in most people, but to pregnant women the dangers are potentially much worse. The virus can reduce fetal growth, cause microcephaly, an abnormally small head associated with brain ...

0 comments

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.