The Health Condition No One Wants to Talk About 2

Pulling Back the Curtain on Incontinence

People like talking about their health. It’s not uncommon to hear folks openly discussing their blood pressure, their kid’s nut allergies or posting about their gluten-free diet. But rarely do you hear anyone talking about their incontinence issues. Rather than discussing it with friends, family or even health providers, many choose simply to suffer in silence.

“I believe that many people never seek help for their incontinence because they believe that it is a normal effect of aging, or they may mistakenly believe that there are no effective therapies,” said Dr. Harriette Scarpero, urologist with the Incontinence Institute.

These common misconceptions about incontinence prevent many from seeking the help that they need. Doctors from Franklin’s Incontinence Institute are hoping to break the cycle of silence and improve people’s lives.

“Due to the overall perception of patients regarding their incontinence symptoms, they are frequently reluctant to report leakage to their health care provider,” said Dr. Melissa R. Kaufman. “As such, urinary incontinence (UI) is an enormous public health problem that has been put in the shadow for so long.”

An estimated 33 million American adults suffer from urinary incontinence and 18 million more suffer from bowel incontinence. Common risk factors for incontinence include diabetes, depression, dementia, chronic cough, medications, childbirth, pelvic surgery, lumbar spinal issues and heart disease. Whether you are suffering from urinary frequency, uncontrollable urgency or some other form of incontinence, most conditions can be successfully treated in a minimally invasive way.

“There are multiple causes of UI, and multiple options of treatment, which can range from non-invasive therapies, to minimally invasive therapies, and with most therapies women can be back to normal activities soon,” said Dr. Barry Jarnagin, uro-gynecologist. “Some therapies require no anesthesia or sedation.”

Along with Dr. Kaufman and Dr. Scarpero, Dr. Jarnagin is also a part of Franklin’s Incontinence Institute, an organization dedicated to the development of innovative protocols and individualized treatment plans for patients of all ages. Together, the team has served patients from across the country. The Institute was founded to provide these patients with an alternative to general incontinence care. There are a wide variety of effective therapies and the Institute is focused on finding the right one for you.

“With so many options available, it is shocking that the adult diaper market actually exceeds sales for baby diapers,” said Dr. Kaufman.

about incontinence, the doctors recommend you seek advice from your primary healthcare provider to determine if referral to an incontinence specialist would be appropriate. You can also contact the Incontinence Institute directly to arrange a consultation.

“Make an appointment and have us evaluate properly,” says Dr. Jarnagin. “You would never want to have heart surgery for chest pain that ended up being gas, and you would not want to have surgery without appropriate evaluation.”

Proper evaluation and treatment can help bring an end to the stress and make a world of difference in the lives of the millions of Americans who suffer in silence.

“Since many of the conditions we assist with are difficult to discuss, an open and honest relationship with the patient is necessary and brings us all closer to our ultimate goals of wellness,” said Dr. Kaufman. “Hopefully today someone will recognize themselves reading this and decide to take action and regain control.”

For more information, visit the Incontinence 
Institute online at