A study published in 2001 reported that the total annual direct cost of UI for women in the U.S. (in 1995 dollars—the year from which the data came) was $12.4 billion. The cost for men was much smaller, but nonetheless significant, at $3.8 billion.2 The study also found that the costs for women over age 65 were more than twice those for women under age 65 ($7.6 and $3.6 billion, respectively). Ultimately, the study concluded that UI is “a very costly condition,” with associated expenses that match other chronic diseases in women. 3
Leaking of urine when I jog, cough, laugh or sneeze? Does this sound familiar? Statistically, over 50% of women 40 and above have some degree of Urinary Incontinence (UI). This is an estimate because only 20% -30% of people actually report UI to their medical practitioner. 1 The most common reasons people gave for under reporting is they thought it was just part of the aging process or they were too embarrassed to talk about incontinence. Now, the cost of Urinary Incontinence is more far-reaching than most of us might imagine. Associated costs include routine care items such as bladder pads and briefs, as well as medications, surgical interventions, behavioral therapy devices, and even diagnostic care such as laboratory tests.
Routine care made up the majority (70%) of costs for women in that study. What are “routine care” costs? Let’s take a closer look.
costs may include:
- Bladder pads and briefs
- Insertable bladder support devices
- Hygiene and odor control products
- Laundry and dry cleaning
- Disposable bed pads
- New clothing to replace items worn from frequent laundering
- Urinary catheters
- Home Health Care
- Cleaning/replacing carpet and/or furniture (e.g. mattress, couch, etc.)
Urinary Incontinence is the unintentional loss of urine. There are several types of incontinence such as Stress (SI), Urgency (UI) and Overactive Bladder (OAB) Incontinence. Stress Incontinence happens when physical movement or activity — such as coughing, sneezing, running or heavy lifting — puts pressure (stress) on your bladder. UI and OAB involve the inability to hold urine when the feelings of urgency are noted or feeling the need to void every 15 minutes. Stress Incontinence differs from urge and OAB incontinence, which is the unintentional loss of urine caused by the bladder muscle contracting, usually associated with a sense of urgency. Stress incontinence is much more common in women than men.
If you have Stress Incontinence, you may feel embarrassed, isolate yourself, or limit your work and social life, especially exercise and leisure activities. With treatment, you’ll likely be able to manage stress incontinence and improve your overall well-being.
Many studies and experts agree on the following possible root causes of Urinary Incontinence, such as Female pelvic floor muscle weakness. Stress Incontinence occurs when the muscles and other tissues that support the bladder (pelvic floor muscles) and the muscles that regulate the release of urine (urinary sphincter) weaken. For example, the bladder expands as it fills with urine, and normally, valve-like muscles in the urethra — the short tube that carries urine out of your body — stay closed as the bladder expands, preventing urine leakage until you reach a bathroom. When these muscles weaken, anything that exerts force on the abdominal and pelvic muscles — sneezing, bending over, lifting, laughing hard, for instance, can put pressure on your bladder and cause urine leakage.
Your pelvic floor
muscles and urinary sphincter may lose strength because of:
- Type of Childbirth Delivery
- Body Weight
- Previous Pelvic Surgery
Other factors that may worsen Stress Incontinence include:
- Illnesses that cause chronic coughing or sneezing
- Smoking or Vaping, which can cause frequent coughing
- High-impact activities, such as running and jumping, over many years
For 50% of the women over 40, the following complications of Stress Incontinence also may include: 1,5
Mixed Urinary Incontinence
Skin rash or irritation
Medication/Surgical Interventions for UI
Medications: Pharmaceutical treatments for UI in women include (but are not limited to) anticholinergics, which calm overactive bladder, and topical estrogen (applied in the form of a vaginal cream, patch, or ring), which could help tone the tissues of the vagina and urethra, relieving UI symptoms. Medications can be expensive (especially without insurance) and can contribute significantly to the cost of UI. As one example, the retail cost of a 30-day supply of the anticholinergic medication Ditropan XL (5mg) was $218.00 USD through one online pharmacy. 4,6
Surgery: When other treatments don’t work, surgery is necessary for some women. Surgical interventions include a sling procedure in which a pelvic “sling” is created using the body’s own tissue or mesh; the sling is then placed around the urethra and bladder neck to help keep the urethra closed. Prolapse surgery may be used in women who have UI brought on by pelvic organ prolapse. Bladder Neck Suspension Surgery helps provide support to the urethra and bladder neck (the latter of which is an area of thickened muscle where the bladder connects to the urethra). It probably comes as no surprise that surgery is expensive. One study estimated the annual direct cost in the U.S. of pelvic organ prolapse surgeries that include UI procedures at $218 million USD.7 A European study estimated prolapse surgery costs in Germany, France, and England at 144 million euros, 83 million euros, and 81 million euros, respectively.8
Biofeedback and Kegel Therapy:
Most women when interviewed about Kegel exercises are not performing the exercises correctly. Also, many women become discouraged and stop doing their Kegels.
Many women have tried the above documented treatments with poor or no improvement to their quality of life and or symptoms.
Given the significant economic and psychological costs of dealing with Urinary Incontinence, the minimally invasive PRP therapy, also known as the O-Shot ® , makes sense as an affordable, effective treatment which can help reduce or even eliminate urinary incontinence for women. What is PRP and how does it help Urinary Incontinence and Sexual Wellness in women? 9
Find out more at our website www.RegenerateYourbody.com or come visit us for a complimentary consultation.
-Diana Hashaw, MSN-FNP-C
- Activate the Female Orgasm System, Charles Runels, MD