Have you ever had a great time with friends laughing out loud, but found yourself uncontrollably leaking urine? You might have even thought “I’m too young for this to be happening.”
The truth is urinary incontinence is not just for older women. It can happen to women of all ages during exercise or while laughing, sneezing and coughing. This particular type of incontinence is known as stress urinary incontinence and it is quite prevalent.
An Embarrassing Problem
A lot of women don’t want to talk about incontinence, so it can be left untreated. Loss of bladder control can range from minor and occasional leaks – to sudden urges that require literally running to the bathroom.
Not only is this problem not just for older women, but it is also not inevitable as we age. If you have reached the point where locating the bathrooms is the first thing you do, it may be time to investigate some ways to gain control.
Non-Invasive Solutions For Incontinence
Simple fluid and dietary management is a way to start. Cut back on alcohol and coffee with caffeine along with acidic drinks. Try to lose weight, and engage in more physical activity. In addition, attempt to eat more fiber and don’t smoke.
Learn how to do pelvic floor exercises. Also known as Kegel exercises, they are especially beneficial for stress incontinence issues. Start by pretending to stop a urine flow. Tighten the muscles to stop the flow and hold for 5 seconds, then relax for 5 seconds. Work up to tightening and holding for 10 seconds, and relaxing 10 seconds. The goal is 3 sets of 10 repetitions a day. A physical therapist may be helpful with this strategy.
Training your bladder is another helpful tool. Try delaying going to the bathroom for 10 minutes after the first urge. Work in increments to lengthen the time with the goal of only urinating every 2.5 to 3.5 hours.
Double voiding is another technique. After urinating wait a few minutes and try to go again to totally empty your bladder
Prescription medications for both men and women are available.
About Women By Women Can offer Additional Solutions For Urinary Incontinence
In most cases one of our OB/GYN specialists will recommend many of the above remedies first. If these techniques are not totally effective, your physician may suggest the following:
- A tampon to suppress and close up the urethra especially while exercising.
- A vaginal insert
- A pessary fitting similar to a vaginal insert but is reusable up to 3 months.
- An in office procedure called urethral bulking with an injection of material closes off the urethra and ultimately decreases the amount of urine leakage.
There are also surgical options for urinary incontinence. One such option is the insertion of a polypropylene sling or one made of the patient’s abdomen or leg. Another procedure entails stitches to support the urethra via an incision into the abdomen.
Depending on the severity of incontinence, patients can choose from multiple alternatives to find the best solution for the problem of urinary incontinence.
Call About Women by Women at (781) 263-0033 to speak to one of our OB/GYN specialists about your incontinence problems and discover the right option for you.