Bladder & Pelvic Health
Millions of women are dealing with a condition that they may be too embarrassed to bring up with friends, family, or even their doctor – loss of urine control. This medical condition is often shrouded in secrecy, and therefore many may not know how to decipher fact from fiction when it comes to understanding the condition. Our experts at Axia Women’s Health urogynecology centers are experienced in helping relieve women from this troubling state. In this article, we’re debunking the most common myths and aiming to empower women to take charge of their health.
Myth: Loss of urine control is a rare condition.
Fact: Loss of urine control (or incontinence as it’s known in medical terms) is fairly common impacting on average 50% of adult women. Unfortunately, most women assume incontinence is a normal part of aging or even postpartum healing, and they deal with the frustrating symptoms for years before realizing they can do something about it. In fact, it often takes 3-5 years for many women to seek help, but it doesn’t have to!
Myth: Incontinence is a normal part of aging.
Fact: Incontinence does not discriminate based on age and is certainly not “just a normal part of getting older.” While it’s often thought of as something that impacts women over the age of 60, many experience symptoms even in their 30s, especially after childbirth. No one, at any age, should have to live with urinary incontinence. It is always treatable and most often resolvable.
Myth: It’s “normal” to have some leakage after childbirth.
Fact: Common is not the same as normal. While many women experience some incontinence while healing from giving birth, this is not a normal part of life after becoming a mother. Your bladder function should return to normal in the weeks following your delivery, with urinary habits returning to normal about 6-8 weeks postpartum. It may take longer if you are breastfeeding. If you’re experiencing persistent symptoms after this period, don’t be afraid to speak up and seek help.
Myth: Reducing fluid intake and wearing pads are the best solutions for managing bladder leakage.
Fact: While it’s natural to assume that reducing the amount of liquid you drink will help with bladder leakage, this isn’t the best approach and can actually cause dehydration. That said, what you drink does matter. Certain liquids like coffee, fizzy drinks, and alcohol can cause bladder irritation. Wearing pads is never a real solution, rather it is simply masking the underlying cause of the condition. Anyone who is experiencing involuntary loss of urine that has become socially or hygienically unacceptable to them should be evaluated for treatment.
Myth: Incontinence is the same for each person.
Fact: Incontinence symptoms can range from small dribbles to a full release of the bladder. It is often the result of a decrease in the closing function of the urethra, allowing urine to escape with any physical movements such as coughing, sneezing, or exercise. It can also be the result of too much activity of the bladder itself (overactive bladder) resulting in urgency and loss of urine with a strong urge to urinate.
Myth: Holding in your urine helps strengthen your muscles.
Fact: It’s often thought that holding your urine in helps strengthen your pelvic muscles. In fact, it does the opposite. Putting constant pressure on those muscles is not healthy and can also impact your body’s understanding of releasing urine.
Myth: Treatment options are invasive and take a while to recover from.
Fact: There are a variety of extremely safe and minimally to non-invasive solutions, depending on your unique need. Surgical procedures are often minimally invasive and some are even performed in-office, making recovery times minimal.
If you’re struggling with loss of urine control, you’re not alone! While it can be difficult to discuss, the urogynecology providers at Axia Women’s Health are here to help you through a caring and compassionate approach.
We’re proud to offer state-of-the-art incontinence testing and work with you to find the best solution for you. It’s important to know that regaining control is possible! You can get back to living life without worry of embarrassing urinary symptoms. The first step is recognizing the condition and seeking help.
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