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A bothersome complaint


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Dr Thomas Kaiser is the Medical Director of the Vale do Lobo Medical Centre and is a specialist in good traditional General Practice for the whole family, state of the art aesthetic and cosmetic medicine.

ONE IN three women suffers from some degree of incontinence.

The problem often starts after childbirth, although women who have never given birth can be affected.

Despite the large number of patients, I hardly ever see them in my clinic. The reason is not that they go to other doctors, but that rely on advice from neighbours or buy dubious products from health shops that promise relief.

In my clinic there is a physiotherapist with special training in the treatment of this bothersome complaint. Last year she only had about three clients for this effective treatment.

Men can also suffer from incontinence. The underlying problem is different but often even more relevant.

It is understandable that many patients feel embarrassed by the nature of the complaint and do not go to the doctor with it. It is a shame though, as there is effective treatment available.

I would suggest the following:

If you suffer from any form of incontinence, the first point of call should be your GP.

Before any effective treatment, it is important to establish the correct diagnosis. There are a number of different reasons behind incontinence.

Incontinence can be due to an infection, a prolapse of the womb, bladder and bowel abnormalities and also prostate problems. This illness can be temporary after pregnancy, due to lax tissue and it predisposes to infections and is a social inconvenience.

The diagnosis can only be established by a proper examination and possibly further tests. Don’t assume – have it checked.

Once diagnosis is established, the treatment can then be planned. This could be a simple course of antibiotics for an infection or physiotherapy for a ‘weak’ pelvic floor. Occasionally more invasive treatments like surgery are necessary.

Hormonal treatment can also have a beneficial effect but only for the right patient.

Sudden incontinence in children is mostly due to infections and it is necessary to do further tests to rule out reflux to the kidneys.

Chronic incontinence predisposes to skin problems as well because the urine is very irritating. Have it treated promptly before it gets to a permanent stage. The treatment is much more difficult.

Weight loss often helps the condition.

Please don’t resign to the thought that you have to live with incontinence. There is help available. Make the most of your doctor’s knowledge.

Our physiotherapist, Karen Peters, is available to help you with an initial consultation.

Appointments through Vale do Lobo Medical Centre on 289 398 065.