Three advocacy groups for urinary incontinence education recently joined forces to launch the first Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) Awareness Week, held June 7-13, 2004. The initiative, "Millions of Women. One Secret. Let's Talk!," aimed to raise awareness of this common, yet underreported condition and encouraged women to discuss their symptoms with their health care professional. SUI occurs when the sphincter muscles have been damaged, causing the accidental leakage of urine during exercise, coughing, sneezing, lifting, or any body movement that puts pressure on the bladder.
Although SUI commonly affects women of all ages, many women do not seek help because they are embarrassed. "Millions of women have this secret in common, without realizing it, and I was one of them," said spokeswoman and patient Bonnie Blair, champion speed skater. "I don't want other women to feel ashamed of this condition. I want women suffering with SUI to know that they do not have to do so in silence, that the best thing they can do is arm themselves with the facts and talk about it with their health care professional."
The American Foundation for Urologic Disease, the National Association For Continence, The Simon Foundation for Continence, in partnership with Eli Lilly and Co and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc, sponsored the campaign.