September is Urology Awareness Month, when organisations such as The Urology Foundation seek to increase awareness of urological diseases, promote urological health and raise funds for vital research and training development.
It is estimated that 50% of us will be affected by a urological condition, such as kidney, bladder or prostate cancer, kidney failure, kidney stones or urinary incontinence at some point in our lives. Living with any urological condition can have a significant impact on individuals and often causes them to feel embarrassed and isolated.
Awareness of symptoms affecting the kidneys, bladder and prostate and knowing when to seek medical advice is vital for early diagnosis and treatment.
Being able to control when you pass urine is often taken for granted, however, urinary incontinence, which affects an individual’s ability to do this, is a life-changing condition. It is thought that approximately three million people in the UK are affected and recent studies show that one in five women over the age of 40 suffer with urinary incontinence, while men become much more susceptible to the condition as they get older.
Involuntary loss of urine can be a benign symptom, but could also be an indication of a more serious underlying condition. There may be available treatment, but the best outcomes are usually achieved through early diagnosis and treatment. It is important, therefore, to understand the different types of incontinence, so that you can consider whether you need to seek help. Urinary incontinence can be broadly divided into the following types:
Lyndsey Banthorpe, an associate in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches, is frequently instructed to act for claimants who suffer with urinary incontinence as a result of post-operative complications or delayed diagnosis of conditions such as Cauda Equina Syndrome. She is only too aware of the devastating effects urinary incontinence can have on people.
She comments: “Often, individuals are too embarrassed to speak with a medical practitioner about their condition and seek the help they need. Understanding the type of incontinence they are suffering from, and the possible reasons for the condition, are important in deciding whether medical help is required. There are often non-medical, medical and surgical options available to those suffering with a form of incontinence, such as pelvic floor exercises or colposuspension surgery. Earlier diagnosis can make a huge difference to treating and/or managing the symptoms to enable sufferers to carry on with their everyday activities.
“If you or a family member have concerns about a possible delay or incorrect diagnosis of your incontinence and would like some initial advice, please contact a member of our specialist team on 0800 328 9545.”