Any involuntary leakage of urine is considered incontinence. UI is a common disease which affects population of all ages in more or lesser severity. It impairs the quality of life of the affected population and their families. Besides, it increases the costs of health and social care services.
A European survey found a prevalence of UI in 35% of women of between 18 and 99 years old. Most of the affected women are untreated due to lack of awareness of clinical treatments and/or sociocultural barriers. Recent statistics show that 346 million people worldwide experienced any type of UI in 2008, which will increase to 420 million by 2018.
There are three different types of UI:
- Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI), triggered by physical efforts, laughing or coughing.
- Urge Urinary Incontinence (UUI), a sudden and uncontrollable need to pee.
- Mixed Urinary Incontinence (MUI), a combination of both previous types.
The most common form of UI, especially in women of childbearing age, is SUI, which can lead to women stopping to participate in physical exercise and social activities, negatively affecting her confidence, self-perception, and overall quality of life (see more).
The main risk factors for urinary incontinence are pregnancy and childbirth, overweight and obesity, and high-impact sports. There are several treatments to improve or cure its symptoms, depending on the type of incontinence, and it can also be prevented by taking measures before it appears.
When UI appears, it is maintained throughout a lifetime if no solution is provided, causing huge social and economic costs (nearly $10 billion is lost every year in direct treatment cost and lost productivity due to UI).
Lifestyle interventions (weight loss, physical activity, dietary factors, smoking, fluid intakes, etc.) and Pelvic Floor Muscle Training (controlled contraction and release of the muscles at the base of the pelvis) are two of the four main current treatment approaches recommended for the initial management of UI in women and are considered as a conservative treatment. It is generally accepted that conservative measures are part of the initial counselling at the primary care level of individuals suffering from either UI. The World Health Organization recommends PFMT to be the first treatment for women with UI.
The WOMEN-UP treatment system will be focused on bringing a conservative and holistic approach towards SUI and MUI that will save time and money for patients and health services alike.