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NHS Choices Condition

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Kate first suffered symptoms of stress urinary incontinence (SUI) after having a hysterectomy. She suffered in silence for eight years before she sought help.

At first, Kate ignored her symptoms because they were mild and she thought they were a natural part of ageing. However, her symptoms became progressively worse and began to have a huge impact on her life.

She’d always been sporty and enjoyed going to aerobics, but she felt unable to continue with her old exercise regime for fear of leaking. She became nervous about the types of clothing she wore.

Finally, fed up with the condition and especially not knowing when she was going to leak, Kate told her doctor. She was referred to a physiotherapist who taught her how to do pelvic floor muscle exercises. For a while she managed by wearing pads, hoping the exercises would help. When that didn’t work, Kate went back to her doctor and was prescribed medication to control her symptoms.

“There are several different routes for treating SUI,” Kate says. “They vary depending on the individual, but the medication wasn’t for me."

Kate found that the medication had a number of side effects for her, such as loss of libido, feeling tired and raised blood pressure. It was also not 100% successful in stopping the leaking.

“I decided to have an operation to insert a TVT tape,” she says. “It was very quick, with minimal scarring and just a little discomfort for a few days afterwards.”

Six weeks later, 52-year-old Kate felt better than she had felt in years. “I’m able to run, cough and laugh without fear of leakage! I’m back at the gym, doing Pilates and I feel really positive. It takes longer to pee, but it's great not to fear leaking or having to get up in the middle of the night.

“Women should not feel embarrassed about having SUI or feel as if it's their fault,” she says. “After talking to my friends about SUI, I realise how common it is.”

view information about Incontinence urinary on www.nhs.co.uk »

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