If you leak when you laugh or feel sudden uncontrollable urges to urinate (sometimes resulting in accidents) then you’re not alone. Incontinence is hugely common in women – 42% of women under the age of 50 have it in some form, with numbers even higher for over 50s.
But so many of those women don’t get help. Such a shame when there are treatments that can totally cure their symptoms! Which of these excuses have you been using to avoid the doctor?
It’s just part of being a mum – nothing to worry about!
An overactive bladder is more common in older women and those who have given birth. That doesn’t mean that it’s just something you have to put up with. If you leave your symptoms untreated they will get worse. There is a big difference between dealing with the occasional leak and having to deal with wetting yourself or having to go to the toilet every hour. But those are the consequences of not taking action! Even little leaks can be annoying and embarrassing; why should you put up with them when you don’t need to?
I’ve heard it means you need surgery or nappies; I don’t want that!
Surgery is only used as a last resort; it’s very likely that you can reduce or get rid of your symptoms entirely through lifestyle changes. These don’t need to include wearing an adult diaper! Many women find that continence pads are a useful way of protecting themselves from leaks, but you can also buy special incontinence pants. The best way to cure incontinence is to work on your pelvic floor muscles via kegels. This can be done manually or using Kegel8 pelvic toners. Strengthening your pelvic floor will make your body able to hold in urine securely again. It's also good to try retraining your bladder - get full details on how below:
I’ll be fine, I can cope with it on my own
An overactive bladder can get worse really slowly so that you just get used to dealing with it. Women are told not to complain or ‘make a fuss’ about their own needs; don’t let this get in the way of your life! It is worth taking the time to look after yourself; you only get one body. The symptoms of urinary incontinence often get worse until you begin to suffer from faecal incontinence (pooing yourself) or prolapse (when your organs slip down into your vagina or anus). I think that you’ll agree that it’s not worth risking these conditions! With a bit of expert advice, you can deal with your symptoms much more comfortably.
But my doctor will think I’m disgusting!
Remember the statistics from the start of this article? Your GP is likely to have seen hundreds of women with incontinence over the course of their career. They will be able to ease your fears, give you practical advice and refer you to a specialist if needed. If you still feel too shy to discuss this problem an easy way to bring it up is to write down your symptoms and have your doctor read your note. We've got all the info on on what your doctor needs to know in this blog! This will save you the stress of getting those initial words out. You may also find it easier to ask to see a female doctor, though a male doctor will be just as sympathetic to your problems.