Your Health Unlocked Episodes

032: Navigating Urinary Incontinence

Publication Date: November 16, 2023

By: Rachel Grimsley, (RN, BSN, MSN) Volunteer Health Officer

Episode Trailer


Have you ever had a time when you just had to go? Maybe during a long car drive or waiting in the never-ending line for the bathroom? For over 25 million adult Americans it’s worse than just “I gotta go,” as they experience unintentional leaking of urine due to temporary or chronic urinary incontinence (UI).

UI can affect people of all ages, but it’s more prevalent among women over 50 and the risk worsens as women age. The impact of incontinence on a person’s quality of life can be severe, contributing to isolation, loneliness, mobility issues, and other comorbidities. Unfortunately, the commonly believed myth that this is just a “normal part of aging” or that there are no effective treatments, means many people do not access the care they need. To bust these myths and learn more about urinary incontinence causes, symptoms, treatment, and the state of UI research, we sat down with Dr. Tatiana Sanses and Dr. Chidubem Egboluche of Howard University. Join us as we elevate a topic that too often gets overlooked and stigmatized by society.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • What UI is, causes, and who it commonly affects 
  • Why women aren’t seeking treatment  
  • The significance between mobility and functional impairments and older women with UI 
  • Some of the most effective treatments available to women suffering from UI 
  • Symptoms and comorbidities providers should check when patients present with UI

More about Dr. Sanses:

Dr. Sanses is an Associate Professor at Howard University and a Chief of Female Pelvic Medicine, Reconstructive Surgery, and Urogynecology at Howard University Hospital. She is a clinician-surgeon-scientist with expertise in urinary incontinence treatments for older women.

More about Dr. Egboluche:

Dr. Egboluche is a recent graduate from the MPH program at Howard University with 5 years of experience in health care, including Women’s Health research. Dr. Egboluche assists Dr. Sanses with statistical analyses and other women’s health research projects.

Resources for Episode 032:

References Mentioned:

“Prevalence of Urinary Incontinence among a Nationally Representative Sample of Women, 2005-2016: Findings from the Urologic Diseases in America Project” by urologist Dr. Una. J. Lee analyzed data from 15,003 women aged ≥20 years who participated in the 2005-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and estimated the prevalence of urinary incontinence in the prior year, overall and by subtype (stress, urgency or mixed). You can view the results here.

Urinary incontinence (UI) is a common condition in all demographics of women and consists of stress UI (SUI), Urgency UI (UUI), and mixed UI (MUI). Treatment includes lifestyle modifications, medical treatment, and surgery depending on the type of UI and severity of symptoms. This review is an update on the evaluation and management of UI in women.

Read The Iceberg of Health Care Utilization in Women with Urinary Incontinence” – a study by  Vatche A Minassian, which showed that only a minority with UI appears to seek care and a fraction sees a pelvic floor specialist, highlighting the importance of not only educating women, but also primary care providers about this highly prevalent yet treatable condition.

Read Dr. Sanses’ study: Physical performance measures in older women with urinary incontinence: pelvic floor disorder or geriatric syndrome?”, which evaluated the physical performance measures of mobility and functional impairments and assessed their association with urinary incontinence (UI) severity and impact on quality of life among older women with UI.

Some Terms and Linked Definitions: 

The primary purpose of this podcast is to educate and entertain. All views expressed by the persons featured on the Your Health Unlocked podcast are their own and do not reflect the opinions of the NWHN or its affiliates. Information provided in this podcast does not constitute medical advice. Consult your own provider for any medical issues that you may be experiencing.

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