We asked women to send us their most frequently asked questions about bladder issues and leakage . . . so by popular demand, here they are!
The answers here are brief. For a more in-depth look at these issues, use our search tool to find specific blog posts on topics such as, “frequent urination”, “stress incontinence”, “pelvic floor”, etc.
What is bladder leakage?
Bladder leakage (urinary incontinence) is the involuntary leakage of urine. This may happen when running, jumping, coughing, laughing or may have without any apparent reason.
When do women leak?
Women most commonly leak during and after pregnancy, menopause, post radiation for breast or uterine cancer, when performing athletics and during intercourse. Some other medical conditions like painful bladder syndrome, neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis and vulvodynia, can also cause incontinence.
Are there different types of incontinence?
- stress incontinence – leakage while laughing, coughing, sneezing and jumping
- urge incontinence – strong desire to urinate when bladder is empty and increased frequency but small volume
- mixed incontinence – combination of urge and stress incontinence
What causes bladder leakage?
Loss of bladder control or poor strength, endurance and coordination of pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor muscles contract to support and lift the bladder in good position and close the urethra.
Isn’t leaking a normal part of aging?
40 million women between the ages of 18-45 live with incontinence. Urinary leaking should be treated as soon as it begins. Leaking is common but not normal.
However, women over 80 years old suffer due to aging muscles, decreased estrogen and slowed nerve transmission.
How can a woman tell if she is doing her pelvic floor exercises correctly?
Education about anatomy/physiology and specialized equipment, like ultrasonography, a squeeze pressure gauge or an Educator can display correct muscle contraction. Exercises done correctly contribute to 70% improvement in symptoms of stress incontinence. Improvement has been seen across all age groups with a supervised exercise program by specialized physical therapists or continence nurses, versus leaflets or unsupervised exercise.
Do I have to put up with incontinence?
No. Whether you are a teen or a mature woman, specific muscle training from a specially trained women’s health physical therapist can be most effective. The Agency on Healthcare Research and Quality endorses such behavioral therapy.
Hope this Q&A was a helpful and informative read! We will have a continuation of this series of frequently asked questions in a follow up post next week!
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