If you are experiencing urinary incontinence (UI) you are not alone. You do not have to accept life with a pelvic floor disorder.

Bladder leakage: No, it’s not a normal part of getting older

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According to the data, there is a true epidemic out there. No, not obesity or heart disease. I am talking about urinary incontinence.

Urinary incontinence (UI) is the involuntary loss of urine. It happens to men and women of all ages. Urinary incontinence affects an estimated 25 million people in the United States and 200 million people worldwide. It is estimated that 50 percent of older women and 15 percent of older men suffer from this problem.

UI is as prevalent as diabetes and hypertension. Yet, unfortunately, it is a silent condition. Most of the time patients are too embarrassed to tell their doctor or (you may have guessed it as the title states) they feel it is a normal part of aging.

Patients often think there is nothing they can do about it and so they suffer in silence.  Fortunately, this is not true! 

There are different types of UI which require different treatments. Some patient may also have combination of more than one type, known as mixed incontinence. The three main types of Urinary Incontinence are as follows:

  1. Stress incontinence is leakage of urine that occurs during physical “stress” activities such as exercising, sneezing or coughing. These activities can increase pressure within the bladder and weaken the urethral pressure.
  2. Urge incontinence is when one gets a strong urge to urinate and is unable to hold it till one reaches the restroom.
  3. Overflow incontinence is when the bladder overfills and it cannot hold any more and the urine “spills over.”

If you experiences bladder leakage – you should be confident and talk to your doctor about it to learn what treatments are available.  

Treatments can vary depending on the type of problem. Often changing voiding and dietary habits may improve the problem. Sometimes medication or physical therapy may be recommended. Other times, highly successful, minimally invasive surgical procedures can provide long lasting treatment.

So are you are aware, here are some interesting statistics gathered from the National Association for Continence (NAFC): 

  1. More than half of all residents in nursing homes suffer from incontinence.
  2. Stress incontinence affects approximately 15 million U.S. adult women. 
  3. An estimated 10-25 percent of patients will still experience bladder control issues after undergoing radical prostatectomy surgery or prostate cancer surgery.
  4. Urinary incontinence is a common risk factor for falling, and in people ages 65 and older, falls are the leading cause of injury death.
  5. Women wait an average of 6.5 years before seeking professional help for their incontinence problems.
  6. Approximately 2-3 percent of adults continued bedwetting since birth.
  7. One in 12 Americans, or approximately 18 million people, was estimated to have fecal incontinence, or the inability to manage bowel control. This statistic ranges from 3 percent in individuals 20-29 years old to 15 percent among adults 70 and older, according to the National Institutes of Health.
  8. One in five adults over 40 years old have an overactive bladder, experiencing recurrent symptoms of sudden urges and frequent urination.

So remember if you are experiencing this problem – you are not alone. You do not have to accept life with a pelvic floor disorder. 

  1. Here is some information to have ready when you speak to your doctor: 1. My last pelvic exam was ______ (days, weeks, months, years) ago.
  2. I have ______ child(ren) and delivered ______ (vaginally/by cesarean section).
  3. I’m having some or all of the following symptoms:
    • Pain, pressure or a bulge “down there”
    • Trouble urinating or passing a bowel movement
    • “Leaking” or needing to use the bathroom often
    • Pain during urination
  4. My symptoms started ______ (days, weeks, months, years) ago.
  5. I have these symptoms ______ (daily, a few times a week, sometimes, etc.).
  6. I want to find ways to treat or cure these symptoms.

Also, be sure to tell your doctor about any medicines you are taking and any allergies you may have.