By Natasha Ginzburg, M.D.
Many women live and suffer with stress urinary incontinence on a daily basis. Stress urinary incontinence — or SUI —involves loss of urine with activities. For some women, SUI can be a minor nuisance with sneezing or coughing; for others, it can have a significant effect on their lifestyle and quality of life.
It can occur with many activities, including exercise, walking, jumping, laughing, etc. There are multiple options for treatment and many women elect to have surgery to deal with the problem.
Veronica S. is a patient at Upstate Urology. She describes her problem:
“I’ve been dealing with this incontinence for many years. It started just a few years after the birth of my child, and I’m now in my 60s. At first, it was annoying only when I would cough, but not too bothersome. I worked on doing my ‘kegel’ exercises and tried to strengthen my pelvic floor on my own. This worked for many years, but overtime, things got worse and worse. I started to wear a light pad every day. I didn’t want to exercise or go dancing with my husband for fear that I’d have a major accident. The pads got thicker. It was a slow process, but suddenly I realized that I was holding back from doing the things I loved. So I decided it was time to do something about it.
“I spoke to my gynecologist. He is a lovely man, and has been my doctor for many years. He offered to help me with surgery, but I was hesitant. I wasn’t sure if I really wanted surgery. Also, although I love my gynecologist, I felt more comfortable with a bladder specialist (a urologist) doing surgery on my bladder.
“So I did my research. I actually live about 90 miles from Syracuse, but I learned that Upstate Urology is one of the only groups in the area with multiple urologists who are female and interested in women’s urology issues. One of these urologists is also the only woman urologist in the area who is board-certified in both general and female urology. So I thought, if I have to have surgery, I would want a surgeon who really knows what they’re doing.
“My first visit at Upstate Urology was very informative! I learned a lot about incontinence and what could have caused my issue. And I was given a number of options for treatment, including specialized physical therapy. But I decided that I’ve been living with this long enough and chose to have surgery. The surgery was easier than I expected — I was back up on my feet the same day and felt back to normal just a few days later. The best part was, I didn’t need pads any more. It felt so liberating. Now, I am so happy I decided to have the surgery. I wish I’d done it 10 years sooner.”