Tue, Jun 25, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Public misinformed about incontinence, new survey shows

By Jonathan Chin  /  Staff writer, with CNA

A new survey showed that the public is seriously misinformed about incontinence and its treatment, the Taiwan Continence Society said on Saturday.

Almost 90 percent of the public believe the condition is caused by “a weak bladder,” while about 70 percent think it is a normal part of aging, society president and urologist Liao Chun-hou (廖俊厚) said at a news conference.

Incontinence is a complicated condition with multiple possible causes, he said, adding that obesity, constipation, pregnancy and prostate enlargement are as much to blame as aging or abnormal bladder functions.

The belief that incontinent people should drink less water, use the restroom more often, avoid leaving home and take over-the-counter medicine are misguided, he said.

Drinking less water could increase the risks of infection, while confining oneself to the home for a treatable condition is unnecessary and it is not likely that buying drugs without a medical diagnosis would help, he said.

People should not allow incontinence to interfere with their lives when treatment is available at clinics, he added.

Another common myth is that going to the gym, doing yoga or engaging in other forms of exercise would ameliorate the symptoms, society vice president and nurse Tsai Chuan-hsiu (蔡娟秀) said.

Specific types of exercise can strengthen pelvic floor, but increasing other types of exercise could make the condition worse, she said.

Only 15 percent of respondents were aware that incontinence is linked to a strain of constipation, while 70 percent of women reported using sanitary towels, which are not designed for fast absorption, she said.

The resulting uncleanliness and bad odor often keeps affected women at home, she said.

The online poll was conducted between May 14 and June 9, with 1,253 samples drawn from members of the public, healthcare workers and people with renal or urological conditions.

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