Urologist Speaks At Congressional Briefing on Devastating Problem of Urinary Incontinence

Urologist Speaks At Congressional Briefing on Devastating Problem of Urinary Incontinence

Feb 2, 2005 5:00 PM

University of Utah urologist Lindsey A. Kerr, M.D., recently made a presentation at a congressional briefing in Washington, D.C., about an underreported and undertreated medical problem that overwhelmingly affects women: urinary incontinence.

Kerr, associate professor of urology at the U School of Medicine and co-director of the Pelvic Floor Disorders Center, spoke about, "The Burden of Incontinence -- Hope From the Latest Research," at a luncheon briefing attended by congressional staffers at the Rayburn House Office Building. The briefing, "The Bladder Matters," was sponsored by the Society for Womens Health Research, a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the health of women through research, education, and advocacy.

Urinary incontinence affects an estimated 33 million Americans, 85 percent of whom are women, and costs $25 billion a year to treat just in the Medicare population, according to Kerr. The problem long was considered a consequence of childbearing and didnt receive attention in the medical-research community.

"Its disproportionate effect on women turns those 'Golden Years' into fools gold," Kerr said.

While incontinence occurs among younger people, it is a problem largely felt by the older population. For those who are incontinent, the consequences can be life-altering. Incontinence is the most common reason for nursing home placements and is associated with falls and bone fractures, hospitalizations, and urinary tract infections, according to Kerr.

Along with her teaching and clinical duties at the U of U, Kerr was spokesperson for the National Association for Continence and is past president of the Society for Women in Urology. She has been awarded the Eagles Cancer Research Grant and currently is co-investigator of a National Institutes of Health grant focusing on the biological and familial aspects of urinary incontinence. Kerr is widely published and lectures frequently on the topic of urinary control and pelvic floor dysfunction.

The Society for Womens Health Research, founded in 1990, advocates increased funding for research on womens health and encourages the study of sex differences that affect the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. The society also promotes the inclusion of women in medical research studies and informs women, health-care providers, and policy-makers about contemporary womens health issues.

Besides Kerr, the briefing featured two other presenters discussing interstitial cystitis, or inflammation of the bladder.

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