A recent article published in the highly-regarded medical journal The Lancet reports on the findings of a study done in Sweden showing that women who've undergone a hysterectomy have more than double the chance of requiring a future surgery for stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Hysterectomies are rarely "optional" procedures, but this is yet another factor to consider in the decision-making process.
According to the NIH, about 50% of women have occasional stress incontinence (the type that's caused by physical stress on the bladder and sphincter, such as coughing, sneezing, or laughing - not emotional stress). A few years ago I had the honor of speaking on a panel with Olympic speed skater Bonnie Blair at a press conference, and last week I had the pleasure of seeing her again as she told her own story of living with, and treating, her stress incontinence. Knowing that so many women (and men, too) are living with this condition, it is reassuring and exciting to see a spokesperson as notable as Bonnie Blair involved in the cause.
We're fortunate to have Bonnie Blair speaking out about incontinence, but where is everyone else? As the large baby-boomer generation continues to age and face more medical decisions like hysterectomy, the numbers of Americans with incontinence will likely rise as well. Every celebrity out there has a "cause", but no one besides Bonnie will open their mouth about leakage - and we know that there have to be some others out there if 50% of women experience SUI.
My parents were wise enough to teach their only daughter not to wait for a "knight in shining armor" to come and save me: they taught me that my happiness depended on myself and no one else. The same could be said when it comes to fighting for greater education and research in regards to incontinence - it's all up to us! If Bonnie Blair can be out there in the public eye speaking about this condition, then certainly we can all take some small part in advocating for greater education and research as well.
Published On: November 01, 2007