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'One in three Indian women experience urinary incontinence'

IANS Mar 08, 2024

One in three Indian women experience urinary incontinence at some point in their lives, say doctors.

Countless women grapple with the debilitating effects of this condition but cultural taboos and societal pressures force them into silence and shame. Physicians say many women experience psychological distress due to this condition and called for breaking free from the shackles of stigma.

According to Dr Sarika Pandya, Head of the Female Urology Department at the Asian Institute of Nephrology and Urology (AINU), urinary incontinence is a prevalent issue among Indian women.

"It often remains shrouded in silence due to societal taboos and lack of awareness. Urinary incontinence can cause social embarrassment, restrict daily activities, and even impact intimate relationships. Many women feel housebound, and isolated, and experience psychological distress due to this condition. However, it's crucial to understand that there are effective treatments available, and no woman should suffer in silence," she said.

Dr Banu Priya, Consultant General Physician & Diabetologist, Kamineni Hospital, mentioned that urinary incontinence, often dismissed as a taboo topic, inflicts profound physical and emotional wounds upon its sufferers.

"Behind the facade of celebration lies the hidden anguish of Indian women battling urinary incontinence. It's time to rip off the mask of shame and offer these women the compassion and support they deserve. We cannot continue to sweep this issue under the rug. Urinary incontinence is not a personal failure; it's a medical condition that requires attention and treatment."

"Recent studies have shown that over 50 million women in India are affected by urinary incontinence, yet the majority suffer in silence due to societal stigma. It's time for Indian society to break free from the shackles of stigma and provide a voice to the voiceless," she added.

Dr Kajaree Giri, Internal Medicine and Consultant Nephrologist and Renal transplant Physician, at Amor Hospital, believed that urinary incontinence can stem from myriad factors, including childbirth, ageing, and underlying medical conditions.

"The prevalence of urinary incontinence in India is staggering, with studies indicating that approximately 1 in 3 women in India experience urinary incontinence at some point in their lives. However, due to cultural taboos and lack of awareness, many women suffer in silence, unaware of available treatments and support. It's crucial to confront this issue head-on and provide women with the resources and support they need to reclaim their dignity and autonomy."

"From innovative treatments to community support networks, there are myriad avenues available to support Indian women in their battle against urinary incontinence. By fostering open dialogue, raising awareness, and advocating for change, we can empower women to step out of the shadows and reclaim control over their bodies and their lives," she said.

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