Urinary incontinence, the involuntary leakage of urine, is more common than you’d probably think. It affects more that half the women in America at some point in life. Women who have had multiple pregnancies and vaginal deliveries may find bladder leakage to be a problem because of weakening of the pelvic floor muscles.
There are different kinds of urinary incontinence, UI, that healthy women can encounter. Stress incontinence occurs when the muscles that control the bladder are not able to hold urine urine in times of increases stress such as sneezing, laughing, or exercising. Urge incontinence, also known as overactive bladder, is characterized by a sudden need to urinate and leaking occurs before making it to the bathroom.
I am sure you have seen the commercials with the cartoon bladder running around forcing women excuse themselves from daily activities like watching a movie or having to get off the bus. It’s a humorous yet accurate depiction of how life can be controlled by your need to frequent the restroom. There are medications on the market to treat UI. However, the first line of therapy recommended by the American Urological Association is behavior modification (i.e. avoiding irritants like caffeine, and incorporating a toileting schedule) and pelvic floor muscle training.
Pelvic floor muscle training can be very helpful at managing UI. These exercises include more than doing kegals. I have listed some websites which offer helpful exercises that you can do. It is also important to share your symptoms with your gynecologist or women’s health NP. I know it can be an embarrassing subject but like I said it is extremely common and we see it every day.
Websites to visit:
From your friendly neighborhood nurse!