Let’s talk about leaks. Specifically, bladder leaks—like when you cough, sneeze, laugh, or work out. Whether it’s mild, rare, or hasn’t even happened yet, a lot of women assume that bladder leaks will affect them later in life.
It’s an embarrassing problem, so most people keep quiet. That explains why many women are unaware that loss of bladder control is not a normal part of aging. You can take steps now—before you ever drip a drop unintentionally. Start today with these tips to prevent being part of the 40% of women over the age of 65 who struggle with urinary incontinence.
Ever heard of screening for urinary incontinence? Probably not. However, studies have found that certain factors put women at a higher risk of bladder leaks. Screening for these risk factors during a regular doctor’s visit can help patients be more proactive in prevention and promptly correcting the issue. Those factors include:
The Women’s Preventative Services Initiative (WPSI) recommends annual screenings that document risk factors and the impact of incontinence on a woman’s quality of life. Screening can vary from your doctor asking a few quick questions during your visit to having you fill out various questionnaires. Getting screened for urinary incontinence regularly raises awareness, brings the topic to light, and ultimately addresses and treats the condition without delay.
It’s no surprise that childbirth increases your risk of urinary incontinence (by 6%) and that vaginal delivery even further increases your chances (by another 6%) as opposed to cesarean delivery. There are a host of reasons why this happens, and one of them is due to increased straining. While you can’t do much about these factors during delivery, you can take steps to minimize further straining when it comes to bowel movements.
If you are straining during bowel movements, it’s a sign that you should pay attention to. Ignoring constipation can lead to urinary incontinence (and other problems) since there is additional pressure on your pelvic organs while you strain. You can reduce constipation and strain by implementing these strategies:
If you are at a higher risk of developing urinary incontinence, there are many small changes you can make in order to reduce the likelihood of bladder leaks in your future. For example, scale down your caffeine intake and start a regular Kegels routine. Add healthy foods to your diet and gradually increase your exercise to maintain a weight that is healthy for you. Eventually, work on cutting out habits like smoking, which can irritate your bladder. If you have a chronic cough, make an appointment with your doctor to see how it can be relieved to reduce the stress on your bladder.
Bladder leaks are a fear that many women live with or dread facing some day, but you don’t have to. Even if you’re already experiencing some urinary incontinence, there are treatment options. In addition to the tips mentioned above, women experiencing stress urinary incontinence (SUI) can use a device called a pessary to conveniently realign the pelvic anatomy and reduce urine leakage.
My Virtual Physician has partnered with Uresta to make this affordable option available to our patients who desire to try it. Consult with our doctors to get your prescription, treatment options, or annual screening today.