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Still a taboo subject: every third woman suffers from bladder weakness
Every third woman suffers from bladder weakness in the course of her life. Pregnancies and births in particular are considered to be major risk factors, as 70% of births result in consequential damage to the pelvic floor, which can lead to future bladder weakness. At the international urogynecology congress in Vienna from June 27th to 30th, the focus will be on bladder incontinence and pelvic floor problems after birth and in the elderly.
"Every third woman suffers from bladder weakness in the course of her life and every fifth woman from a weak pelvic floor," says Univ.-Prof. Dr. Heinz Kölbl, Head of Gynecology at MedUni Vienna and Chairman of the local organizing committee of the International Urogynecological Congress of the International Urogynecological Associatoin (IUGA). “Although a lot has happened in the past few years, our main task is still the final tabooing of these two urogynecological problems. Because many women suffer silently from shame. That does not have to be the case, because now we can do a lot in prevention and treatment to alleviate this suffering, ”emphasizes Kölbl. At the international urogynecology congress on June 27th, over 1,200 gynecologists at the Austria Center Vienna will be discussing bladder incontinence and pelvic floor problems after birth and in the elderly.
Pregnancy and childbirth as the biggest risk factors
Women are generally more prone to bladder and pelvic floor weakness. This is due to the support and support function of the female pelvic floor, which is stressed much more by pregnancies and births. About 25 percent of all women between the ages of 25 and 35 suffer - at least temporarily - from bladder weakness as a result of childbirth. "It is therefore very important to do pelvic floor exercises as a preventive measure during pregnancy, to be accompanied professionally during childbirth, to prevent injuries during the birth process, and to use post-natal exercises afterwards," explains the doctor. Women who have given birth to particularly large children, who have had an instrumental birth - such as a forceps birth - or who have had a particularly long expulsion phase during birth are particularly at risk of developing a bladder or pelvic floor weakness later in life . From a purely statistical point of view, only 30% of the female pelvic floors regenerate completely within 3 months after birth, 70% of women suffer consequential damage.
Caesarean section is no prophylaxis
"Some women therefore prefer a Caesarean section for childbirth, but it is not a cure-all panacea for bladder and pelvic floor problems," warns Kölbl, "because even women who have had no children, such as nuns, can have one later in life Bladder or pelvic floor weakness. "
Because bladder weakness can also have other causes. Obesity patients, smokers and older women are at higher risk of bladder weakness. In old age, the hormone deficiency after menopause and the poorer blood circulation as well as general tissue and muscle weaknesses lead to bladder problems. It is estimated that up to 40% of all women over the age of 60 may suffer from bladder weakness.
Good chances of recovery
Bladder and pelvic floor weaknesses are not sufferings that must be endured silently as a woman. Physical therapies - such as pelvic floor training for stress urinary incontinence - as well as drug treatments and prostheses for the bladder sphincter muscle can do a lot here. If these forms of therapy provide little or no remedy, surgical procedures - such as minimally invasive surgery on the urethral ligament or an operation to raise the vagina - are also available. "Here, for example, by raising the vagina, we can heal in 87-90% of the cases within 5 years," says Kölbl.