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Experiencing Incontinence?

By Expert HERWriter
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Urinary Incontinence related image Photo: Getty Images

Many women, at one stage of life or another, experience that annoying leakage of urine when their bladder is too full, and/or when laughing, running, jumping, or sneezing. For some it occurs after childbirth when all of those muscles down in the pelvic region are stretched out and recovering. For others, it occurs later in life with the change of hormones and loss of estrogen.

There are three most common types of incontinence. Stress incontinence occurs when you put stress or pressure on your bladder with coughing, sneezing, or running. Urge incontinence happens when you have the immediate "urge" to urinate and can’t seem to hold it. Mixed is a combination of both. Urine is specifically kept in the bladder until you are ready to use the bathroom, however if the detrusor muscle and urethra aren’t behaving like they should, you leak.

Research suggests that 30 to 40 percent of women 60 years and older deal with incontinence. Risk factors include: pregnancy, multiple births, menopause, obesity, diabetes, certain autoimmune conditions, prolapse, abdominal surgery, diuretics, anxiety, nerve damage to the mid-low back, bladder infections, overactive bladder, inability to urinate regularly when needed, and stimulants such as coffee/soda/chocolate.

Evaluation by your health care provider, or a specialist called a urogynecologist, often involves a full intake surrounding the situations in which you are incontinent, your history, medications, and pregnancy history. A vaginal physical exam is important to assess for proper anatomy and then testing may be needed such as a hormone testing, urinalysis (to look for infection), a bladder stress test, an ultrasound of your kidneys/bladder/ureters, or cystoscopy (a scope inside your bladder).

Treatment depends on what they find. It may be something like pelvic floor physical therapy where you learn how to do a proper Kegel exercise and recruit all of your muscles, not just the strong ones. It may require bladder retraining, hormone evaluation, weight loss coaching, or surgery in some cases.

If you are leaking more than you would like, please talk with your health care provider about your options.

1.Gomelsky A, Dmochowski R. Urinary Incontinence in the Aging FemaleAging health. 2011;7(1):79-88.
2. Password F., View I. How widespread are the symptoms of an overactive bladder and how are they managed? A population-based prevalence study. BJU Int 2001; 87: 760–6.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11412210

Reviewed June 3, 2011
Edited by Alison Stanton

Add a Comment4 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

There are so many reasons why women get urinary incontinence, that is can take detective-like skills to get to the bottom of it! Everything from yeast infections to food allergies! http://www.womentowomen.com/urinaryincontinence/femalebladder.aspx#causesui

Women to Women Contributor

October 9, 2012 - 8:32am
EmpowHER Guest

Hi, it’s so good blog. And, yes incontinence is the main reason of bladder leakage. Some time we don’t directly discuss about the light bladder leakage. Some women are not openly dealing with the icky topic. When we properly realize the urinary problem symptoms, then we should not waste the time and should go to a best diagnosis that solves your problem by a better treatment or exercise. My roommate also had faced the urinary problem .In starting she does feel embarrassed to share with me. But one day she told me to her problem .By, that time, urinary problem hasn’t become a big problem. Then I suggested to her about Pelvic Floor exercise. Now she’s all right. The ]]>pelvic Floor exercise]]> does help us to save from harmful urinary problem. To get more information about Pelvic Floor exercise, you can locate on this page http://www.pelvicfloor.biz/. In the Pelvic Floor exercise E-Book describes easy exercise and we can easily do it.

September 10, 2012 - 3:34am
(reply to Anonymous)

Yes this is a nice blog and I agree with you comment about the bladder leakage. if women want to make their body healthy one thing is that the knowledge and the knowledge is coming through ready book or concerning with doctor’s have a eBook store and we provide all type of health related books . If you are interested to buy online health eBook you can contact here: http://www.bestonlineebooks.com/

September 11, 2012 - 1:41am

Thanks for this interesting article Dr. Jones. Did you know that according to a recent survey (found here: http://www.tena.us/Documents/84_Region_North_America/USA%20-%20English/Documents/press%20releases/TENA%20Survey%20Press%20Release%20012411.pdf), a majority of boomer women do not discuss sensitive personal health issues, like bladder weakness, with their doctors? We at TENA encourage women to talk with their doctors about how to manage these problems, as they are simply a part of life. TENA, the leading brand for bladder protection, offers a full range of products for women to help manage those “oops” moments or larger amounts of leakage. Women can choose from light panty liners to pads for daytime and overnight, and protective underwear that feels just like regular underwear, but provides security and protection. To find out more about the wide range of TENA’s products, please visit www.TENA.us

June 7, 2011 - 2:53pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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