Simple Solutions That Can Help You Avoid Urinary Incontinence
If you’re experiencing urinary leakage, know that it is a medical problem and quite common among women.
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Millions of women experience involuntary loss of urine called urinary incontinence. Some women may lose a few drops of urine while running or coughing. Others may feel a strong, sudden urge to urinate just before losing a large amount of urine. Many women experience both symptoms.
Urinary incontinence can be slightly bothersome or totally debilitating. For some women, the risk of public embarrassment keeps them from enjoying many activities with their family and friends. Urine loss also can occur during sexual activity and cause tremendous emotional distress.
If you’re experiencing urinary incontinence, know that it is a medical problem and quite common among women. Your doctor or nurse can help you find a solution.
It’s also important to see your doctor to be examined for any bladder issues to be sure the problem is not related to pelvic masses or other conditions.
Incontinence occurs because of problems with muscles and nerves in the pelvic floor that help to hold or release urine. You can have your women’s health care provider assess your pelvic tone during your pelvic exam.
Women experience urinary incontinence twice as often as men because of pregnancy, childbirth, menopause or structure of the female urinary tract. Other factors that can influence the strength of the pelvic floor include genetic factors, diet, weight, bowel function, surgical procedures and medical conditions.
Older women experience urinary incontinence more often than younger women. But incontinence is not inevitable with age.
Men can develop urinary incontinence as well. Men and women can both develop the condition from neurologic injury, birth defects, stroke, multiple sclerosis and the physical problems associated with aging.
Obesity, which is associated with increased abdominal pressure, can worsen incontinence. Fortunately, weight loss can reduce its severity.
Remedies for urinary incontinence can include medications and surgery.
One new option is combination stimulation and biofeedback therapy. This treatment involves a custom-fit device that you use at home. The device uses stimulation to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and inhibit your overactive bladder muscles, while giving visual biofeedback and audible guidance. Precise adjustments can be made to ensure effective muscle training.
But you may want to try behavioral options first. Two of these options to talk over with your doctor include bladder retraining and Kegel exercises.
In bladder retraining, you use the bathroom at regular timed intervals, a habit called timed voiding. As you gain control, you can extend the time between your scheduled trips to the bathroom.
Kegel exercises strengthen the muscles that help hold in urine.
It’s important for women to learn Kegel exercises — and you should do them even while you’re pregnant.
Part of being strong, healthy and in charge is having a strong, healthy and well-contracting pelvic floor.