Incontinence is a problem few discuss but one that can be set right if only they would seek help. To drive home this point, medical and nursing college students performed skits at the Government Kasturba Hospital here on Wednesday.

Some of the patients treated for the condition also shared their experiences in an interactive public forum titled “lead a leak-free life”. The students presented the experience of women from varied backgrounds – situations where marriages fell apart, or a woman lost her job because she shied away from seeking help.

Mythili underwent surgery to correct a menstrual problem in a private hospital but the surgery resulted in other complications and she lost bladder control. She lost her job as she did not know where to seek treatment for her condition. At the Government Kasturba Hospital, where she was treated, “The surgery lasted only an hour but the tests took two hours,” Ms. Mythili said. Today, she is cured of the condition and leads a normal life.

But 62-year-old Pappathi is not so lucky. Her bladder was damaged during childbirth leading to total incontinence and her family abandoned her. After 20 years of suffering she came to the hospital for treatment. When she returned home after treatment, neither her children nor her husband wanted her back. She now lives on old age pension provided by the government. N. Rajamaheswari, head of the Urogynaecology Department at the hospital, said that in the country about 60 per cent of women over the age of 35 report incontinence and in a majority of them leakage occurs with physical exertion. Some of the causes of incontinence are childbirth, menopause and ageing. A public information booklet was released on the occasion. Director of Medical Education V. Kanagasabai, Madras Medical College Dean J. Mohanasundaram and Director of Kasturba Gandhi Hospital M. Mohanambal participated.