Thursday, December 13, 2007

Stand Up and Be Proud to have lost Bladder and Bowel Control... what a pisser

Report urges end to stigma of incontinence

One in four U.S. adults will experience incontinence at some point, a surprisingly high toll, and the condition is so embarrassing that many suffer silently, a government panel said Wednesday.

Women are most prone to incontinence, which is the inability to control urination or bowel movements. But everyone's risk rises as they get older. Being overweight and a couch potato adds to the risk.

With the population rapidly graying and fattening, scientists convened by the National Institutes of Health issued an urgent call for research to find better ways to prevent incontinence and to remove the stigma so more people will seek help.

"We as a society need to get over our discomfort with this subject so that incontinence sufferers receive the compassion, acceptance and care they need, and our aging population can take steps to prevent incontinence in the future," said Dr. C. Seth Landefeld, geriatrics chief at the University of California, San Francisco, who led the panel.

Today, fewer than half of the people with incontinence volunteer their symptoms to a doctor, the panel found. That is the case despite a variety of effective treatments, from exercises to medications and surgery.

Prevention is better, but the panel found major gaps in the understanding of the biology of incontinence that hinder that effort. For now, the panel's best advice is for people to seek help.

And for those without the problem, exercise and dropping extra pounds are recommended as protection.

"All of us are walking around with a bag of water and a bag of stool in our pelvis," Landefeld said. "Anything that exerts increased pressure on those, tends to push them out, is potentially leading to incontinence."

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