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.
New research from the University of Adelaide shows middle-aged women are more likely to suffer depression from this common medical problem that they find too embarrassing to talk about.
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 older women (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.
Key issues for younger women affected by incontinence are family, sexual relationships 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."
"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.
"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."
The above story is based on the June 14, 2013 news release provided by Universityof Adelaide.
To learn more about urinary incontinence visit Patient.co.uk