Menopause, Diapers and Sex: Incontinence can be treated!


Menopause, Diapers and Sex: Incontinence can be treated!


Urinary incontinence has a significant negative impact on the quality of life of women, who often live in social embarrassment, with disturbed sleep and impaired psychological health. Patients report less productivity at work, overall poorer health, higher rates of depression and decreased sexual satisfaction than individuals of the same age who do not suffer from incontinence problems.

Both urinary incontinence and overactive bladder disorder occur more frequently with increasing age. This has been recorded in multinational studies in Europe and America, but it seems to be confirmed in the Greek population as well. In a study conducted by the Institute for the Study of Urological Diseases in patients who were hospitalized in or visited the ‘Papageorgiou’ Hospital Thessaloniki, nearly 1 out of 4 women stated that she had some type of urinary incontinence. The rate of women with incontinence was found to be significantly lower in younger age groups (less than 1 out of 10 at the age group of 18-40 years), significantly higher in the middle-age group (more than 1 out of 5 women in the age group of 41-60 years) and impressively higher at the third age (4 in 10 women between the ages of 61-80 years). Besides child births, menopause might also play an important role in predisposing women for urinary incontinence. This may be due to relaxation of the muscles and ligaments supporting the urethra and urinary bladder due to hormonal loss and aging of the bladder.

Women with urinary incontinence are twice as likely to experience hypoactive (low) sexual desire, vaginal dryness and painful intercourse (dyspareunia) compared to women without incontinence. Incontinence was found to be correlated with high likelihood for marital problems and low sexual satisfaction. Given that urinary incontinence is closely connected with taking protection measures (i.e. use of sanitary napkins, pads or diapers), it is important to clarify whether these affect the way women perceive their bodies, general self-image and sexual self-image.

Conversely, it was found that the successful treatment of overactive bladder and urinary incontinence significantly improved the quality of life, sexual health and stress levels of the women who were surveyed.

If you identify one of your own problems in what has been described above or if you want to help other women you know who have similar problems, seek assistance from Specialized Urologists or Urogynecologists.