Posts Tagged ‘Kegel exercises’

Urinary Incontinence: Gotta Go, Gotta Go Right Now!

November 28, 2015

Urinary incontinence affects millions of Americans and causes havoc with their lives.  It I a source of embarrassment, shame and often depression.  Other medical consequences of incontinence include skin irritation, urinary tract infections, and pelvic pain.  This blog will discuss treatment options including medications and non-medical solutions.

Urinary incontinence means that the person suffering from it starts losing his/her control over the bladder. This leads to several kinds of problems of the urinary system including sudden urination, slow but steady leakage of urine, or dripping of urine when one undertakes a physically stressful exercise like lifting weight.  Those who have incontinence often lose urine with coughing, laughing, or sneezing.

Although this is a common medical problem, many suffers continue to suffer in silence, living a secluded and reclusive life.

While these causes cannot be controlled, it is important to take note of and control factors that can worsen the condition:

Medication

If you have a problem of urinary incontinence and the symptoms have gone from bad to worse, you need to check with your doctor about the medication or drugs you have been taking. For, chances are that some of these may be exacerbating the problem. Certain drugs to treat high blood pressure are linked to an increase in incontinence.

Alpha blockers dilate blood vessels to reduce blood pressure and they also often relax the muscles of the bladder, furthering urine flow. Some drugs to treat depression can contribute to worsening incontinence symptoms.

Anti-depressants work by relaxing the nerves of the mind and may also affect the ability of the bladder muscles to contract (side effects).

Diuretics are another set of drugs that are associated with increased

urination. In fact, these drugs are also called ‘water pills’, and are designed to flush out excess salt from your body to treat conditions like high blood pressure.

Caffeine

Caffeine is an important component of our daily lives as most of us consume it through coffee, tea and chocolates. Excessive consumption of caffeine is associated with the problem of increased urination. While mild consumption doesn’t have a negative effect, excess consumption can affect the renal system, as caffeine is a stimulant. It stimulates the cardiovascular system, increasing the heart rate as well as blood pressure. This increases the rate of blood to be filtered. It also relaxes the bladder’s detrusor muscles, causing them to feel fuller more frequently. So, limiting caffeine intake is healthy.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a major health concern of today as it affects the functioning of the entire body. It also increases the risk of urinary incontinence, as well as its severity. Efforts should be made to prevent and control diabetes by keeping your weight under control, exercising regularly and leading a healthy lifestyle.

Excessive weight also puts extra pressure on the pelvic muscles and weakens them. Therefore, it is also important to control body weight.

Solutions

Besides controlling the aforementioned factors, it is important to take medical help to treat and manage urinary incontinence.

In some patients, adopting behavioral changes may help. For example, decreasing fluid intake to average levels, urinating more frequently to decrease the amount of urine that is held in the bladder and keeping regular bowel habits (as constipation can worsen the problem) may have a positive effect.

Pelvic muscle training exercises, aka Kegel exercises, can specifically help those who suffer from incontinence. The exercises help patients exercise better control of their detrusor muscles.

Weight loss has also been shown to help decrease symptoms in overweight people.

Bottom Line:  Urinary incontinence is a common condition affecting millions of American men and women.  Help is available and no one needs to “depend on Depends”!

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Men You Don’t Have To Depend on Depends After Prostate Surgery

October 24, 2015

Many men after prostate surgery will have a problem of urinary incontinence. The good news is that it is usually temporary and lasts only a few days or weeks. However, after prostate cancer surgery, the incontinence may be worse and last for a longer period of time. Help is available. Men can use Kegel exercises, which are the same exercises, that women use who have a problem of losing urine.

About 30 percent of prostate cancer patients nationally are affected by incontinence a year after surgery, and another 14 percent still feel the effects after five years.

Urinary incontinence has been shown to cause significant distress in men following prostate cancer treatments. Men become reclusive and even depressed if they have incontinence. Men are afraid to travel or attend other social gatherings because there may not be a restroom nearby.

A study from the Cleveland clinic detailed results from 244 men randomly assigned to one of three approaches to reduce leakage and manage symptoms.

The first two approaches offered the men one session of biofeedback-assisted pelvic exercises and six biweekly sessions—either in a peer support group or by phone—to learn how to self-manage their symptoms. In the biofeedback sessions the men learned how to perform Kegel exercises.

In the third approach, men received information and a doctor’s directions for care or sought information on their own.

By the third month, the first two methods—biofeedback, plus support group or telephone contact—showed better results. The number of leakage episodes decreased.

At the last assessment at six months, the men receiving biofeedback and support recorded the greatest reduction in leakage amount.

For more information on Kegel exercises please go to my website, www.neilbaum.com or copy and paste this into your browser: http://neilbaum.com/articles/kegel-exercises-for-men-2

Bottom Line: urinary leakage can be depressing for both men and women. Help is available. Just remember, a Kegel a day can keep the doctor away!

Non-Medical Steps To Control Bladder or Urine Leaks (Overactive Bladder)

September 13, 2015

Urine Leaks/loss of bladder control is common among women and is one of the most embarrassing maladies affecting anyone who suffers from this problem.

The condition affects women between ages 18 through 65 and it could get worse it not properly managed.

Loss of bladder control/urine leaks/urinary incontinence can be contained with simple lifestyle changes without having to undergo any form of surgery or take any medications with its associated side effects.

Tips that work:

  1. Kegels

Kegels are known to help tighten the pelvic floor muscle. Try ‘squeezing’ the pelvic muscle slowly.

A common way to do this is to stop urine flow while at it counting up to 20 before starting the flow, holding each squeeze for 10 seconds.

  1. Reduce fluids intake

Drink water when you have to/regularly but don’t drink too much to overwork the bladder.

  1. Reduce acidic foods in your diet

Foods with high acid content should be reduced. Oranges, apples, lemon and alcohol contain acid known to irritate the bladder. If you have urinary incontinence, reduce intake of these foods.

  1. Relax

It’s best to relax as this also helps the whole body relax which reports reveal could reduce urinary incontinence.

  1. Use tampons

You can use tampons to stay dry especially when involved in high impact activities or moving around a lot.

Tampons slightly lift up the urethra (which is the bladder opening) to support it when you are moving around. Be sure to remove it as soon as you are done with the activity.

Bottom Line: You don’t have to suffer in silence. Help is available. If you suffer from urinary incontinence or other problems “down there”, see your doctor.

For more information on “down there”, I recommend my book, What’s Going On Down There- Improve Your Pelvic Health, available from Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Whats-Going-Down-There-Siddighi/dp/1477140220/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1442165577&sr=8-13&keywords=What%27s+Going+On+Down+There)

What's Going On Down There-Improve Your Pelvic Health (amazon.com)

What’s Going On Down There-Improve Your Pelvic Health (amazon.com)

Urinary Incontinence In Women Athletes-Don’t Suffer In Silence!

July 12, 2015

One of the most common, but rarely discussed issues that female athletes face is urinary incontinence during exercise. This phenomenon is also known as stress urinary incontinence and is defined as the involuntary leaking of urine during activities like running, jumping, laughing or coughing. This problem affects nearly 50% of women who exercise but mostly only a few drops come out and not considered a significant problem. This can often be controlled using Kegel exercises. (see my website for more information on Kegel exercises, http://www.neilbaum.com)

One study estimates that leaking of urine occurs in 47% of exercising women (average age was 38 years in this study). Many attribute this problem due to pregnancy and childbirth; however, studies have shown that 25-28% of high school and collegiate athletes who have never been pregnant report stress urinary incontinence. These numbers are even higher in sports that significantly increase the intra-pelvic pressure like gymnastics and trampoline where 60-80% of athletes report incontinence!
What’s the Cause of Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)?
In most cases, SUI is caused by a dysfunctional pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is made up of muscles, connective tissue and sphincters. These three types of structures have three main functions: 1) stabilize the spine and the pelvis, 2) support the pelvic organs, and 3) control the retention and release of urine and stool.
One reason the pelvic floor can become dysfunctional is that the muscles and connective tissues become stretched or weak during or after pregnancy. However, they can also become too tight or “stay on” too much of the time, so that they can’t contract quickly or strong enough during high-impact activities, like in running or jumping sports.
The Impact of SUI
Stress urinary incontinence is not only embarrassing for women, but many either stop exercising altogether or stop doing sports/activities that they love to avoid this problem. In addition, pelvic floor dysfunction can also lead to pain – during intercourse or at rest, so this problem can negatively impact many areas of women’s lives.
Treating SUI
Fortunately, there are several ways to improve pelvic floor function and stop episodes of incontinence. The first step is to be evaluated by a physician who specializes in the pelvic floor (certain sports medicine physicians, gynecologists or urologynecologists). Often patients are referred to women’s health physical therapists to learn exercises to improve their pelvic floor function. It’s important to note that the exercise regimen is more unique and comprehensive than Kegel’s for every woman. Some women improve with Kegel’s, but others need to learn to relax their pelvic floor rather than strengthen it. In addition to therapy, there are medications, injections and surgical procedures that can be used if necessary.
Bottom Line:
For the female athlete, pelvic floor dysfunction and incontinence is under-reported, under-diagnosed and under-treated. It can lead to women avoiding sports or exercise as well as decreased performance. With the right diagnosis and treatment, it can be completely resolved. Don’t suffer in silence. See your doctor.

Bladder Symptoms-Stop Depending On Depends!

April 1, 2015

Millions of American women suffer from urinary bladder problems. Unfortunately, they suffer in silence as women feel too embarrassed to discuss their symptoms with their physicians. This article will discuss the common symptoms of bladder control and what can be done about it that doesn’t require a diaper or Depends.
Share

The involuntary leaking of urine is a distressing symptom which is associated with loss of confidence, self esteem, relationship difficulties and sometimes depression. Some women deal with the situation by avoiding socializing with family and friends, wearing dark clothes and frequently changing their clothing, using scents, sanitary pads and even diapers.
Bladder difficulties can affect all age groups, but are more common in middle age and older women. It is likely that as many as one in five women experience incontinence at some stage in their lives. Approximately 70 per cent of urinary incontinence sufferers tolerate the symptoms and those who seek medical help wait for an average of four years because of embarrassment, shame and stigma.

Talking about these symptoms is difficult but women do not need to feel reluctant about seeking help as so many women can be effectively treated without surgery.

The biggest risk factor for women is damage to the pelvic floor especially related to pregnancy and child birth. Other conditions include extreme sports, chronic coughing and heavy lifting. Contributing causes include obesity, smoking and drugs that affect the bladder or the muscle that holds urine inside the bladder.
There are two main types of incontinence: stress and urge. Urine loss in the stress type is preceded by increasing the pressure within the abdomen such as occurs with laughing, sneezing, or coughing. Women experiencing urge incontinence have a compelling urge to pass urine, which is impossible to control and causes leaking.

Treatment can start with measures, which do not involve medication, but can be followed by pharmacotherapy if the conservative measure are not effective.

Initially patients are advised to decrease the intake of caffeine and carbonated drinks, smoking and avoiding constipation.
Pelvic floor exercises or Kegel exercises, are the recommended first line treatment for stress, mixed and urgency incontinence and result in significant improvement in up to 80 per cent of cases. Bladder training and electrical stimulation are other effective ways of treating incontinence.

Bottom Line: Wearing a diaper to staying at home because of the loss of urine, is not acceptable to most women who suffer from incontinence. It doesn’t have to be that way. See your doctor and he\she can often find a solution that will make you dry, comfortable, and lead you to a healthy lifestyle.

Clinical Management of Urinary Incontinence in Women

March 30, 2015

Incontinence is a devastating condition affecting millions of American women. It is a source of embarrassment that results in women becoming reclusive and deciding not to engage in socialization. Urinary incontinence, defined as the involuntary leakage of urine, affects 20 million persons nationwide Help is available. You don’t have to depend on Depends! This blog will discuss the problem and the treatment options for urinary incontinence.
Most cases of urinary incontinence in women fall under one of three major subtypes: urge, stress, or mixed. I believe in going from tshe least invasive (behavioral modification) to more invasive (surgery) interventions is the best approach. Bladder retraining and pelvic floor muscle exercises are first-line treatments who present with urge incontinence or “I gotta go right now”! Medication with anticholinergic medications is another option for treating urge incontinence if behavioral therapy is unsuccessful; however, because of adverse effects such as constipation and blurred vision and confusion, these agents are not recommended in older adults.

Pelvic floor muscle exercises or Kegel exercises are considered first-line treatment for stress incontinence or loss of urine with coughing, laughing or sneezing. Alternatives for treating stress incontinence include vaginal pessaries. At this time no medications are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating stress incontinence. Minimally invasive procedures injection of periurethral bulking agents, can be used if stress incontinence does not respond to less invasive treatments.

Third line treatment consists of surgical interventions, such as sling and urethropexy procedures, should be reserved for stress incontinence that has not responded to other treatments.

Bottom Line: Women suffering from urinary incontinence do not have to suffer and should speak to their doctor about treatment options. Usually some of the options are helpful and can make women comfortable and able to engage in most activities without the embarrassment of the loss of urine.

Non-Medical Treatments of Urinary Incontinence

Incontinence is a devastating condition affecting millions of American women. It is a source of embarrassment that results in women becoming reclusive and deciding not to engage in socialization. Urinary incontinence, defined as the involuntary leakage of urine, affects 20 million persons nationwide Help is available. You don’t have to depend on Depends! This blog will discuss the problem and the non-medical treatment options for urinary incontinence.

WEIGHT LOSS
Women who are overweight or obese and who experience stress incontinence should be encouraged to lose weight, which has been shown to reduce the frequency of incontinence symptoms.32

BEHAVIORAL TREATMENTS
Pelvic floor muscle exercises are the mainstay of behavioral therapy for stress incontinence. Up to 38 percent of patients with stress incontinence alone who follow a pelvic floor muscle exercise regimen for at least three months experience a cure. Increased effectiveness is demonstrated in women undergoing longer training and in those following comprehensive clinic-based training rather than self-help booklets.
Manual feedback (palpating the pelvic muscles during the exercises) and biofeedback (using a vaginal or anal device that provides visual or audio feedback about pelvic muscle contraction) have been used to teach patients the correct technique. Weighted intravaginal cones have also been used for improving technique when women have difficulty identifying their pelvic floor muscles. Although these strategies may improve technique and, consequently, symptoms in the short term, there is no evidence that they result in higher rates of long-term improvement or cure than the exercises alone.

ELECTRICAL AND MAGNETIC STIMULATION
Electrical stimulation of the pelvic floor muscles with a vaginal or anal electrode can be used in women who cannot voluntarily contract pelvic floor muscles.13 This can be done at home and typically consists of two 15-minute sessions daily for 12 weeks. Medicare has approved its use in patients who have incontinence that does not respond to structured pelvic floor muscle exercise programs.

Extracorporeal magnetic innervation involves a series of treatments in which the patient sits, fully clothed, on a chair that generates a low-power magnetic field. Patients typically undergo two or three treatments per week for six to eight weeks. One early study showed this method to be most effective for women who have mild stress incontinence (i.e., using three sanitary pads per day or fewer). A more recent study found it to be more effective than sham treatment for women who are unable to generate adequate pelvic floor muscle contractions.

DEVICES
Vaginal inserts, including incontinence pessaries and incontinence tampons, can be used for treating stress incontinence in pregnant women, in those who are not surgical candidates, and in those whose symptoms have not responded to previous surgeries. Vaginal inserts compress the bladder neck and urethra, thus decreasing urine loss caused by stress incontinence. Although pessaries are not widely used, their associated risks and costs are low, and they achieve results quickly. There are few contraindications to pessary use (e.g., active pelvic infection, severe ulceration, allergy to product materials, noncompliance). Incontinence tampons, which also place pressure on the bladder neck, are available in Europe.
[corrected] Urethral plugs are devices that are inserted into the urethra to prevent urine loss during activities that cause stress incontinence (e.g., running). They are available in two lengths: 3.5 cm and 4.5 cm. There is limited evidence promoting or discouraging their use, and they are associated with a number of adverse effects, including urinary tract infection (occurring in up to 31 percent of women over a two-year period), hematuria or blood in the urine (3 percent), and migration into the bladder (1 percent). Despite this, multi-year studies indicate a high degree of patient satisfaction, and the likelihood of significant adverse effects diminishes with continued use.

Bottom Line: Urinary incontinence is a devastating problem affecting millions of American women. You don’t have to suffer in silence. Help is available; speak to your physician

Urinary Incontinence – Don’t Depend on Depends!

March 12, 2015

Urinary incontinence affects millions of American men and women. Help is available. You don’t have to suffer in silence.

If you notice a few drops of urine dribbling out when you laugh, cough or even sneeze, you may need to consult a general practitioner as these could be symptoms of urinary incontinence, or loss of voluntary control over one’s urination. In some cases there may be a total loss of urine from the urinary bladder while in other cases there could be partial leakage too. Most commonly seen in elderly males and females, this is a condition that could cause great embarrassment and mental agony. As the person loses control over his or her urination, it drips into his inner clothes without his knowledge and this causes stains, bad smells as well as embarrassment to the person in question. This problem can prevent the person from socializing as he\she is always preoccupied with the thought that the urine might leak out and others may come to know about his or her condition. As this is a problem that often affects the elderly, it could cause severe mental agony and sometimes elderly persons may even develop depression because of it.

Causes of incontinence

Some cases of incontinence are temporary and often, these instances are caused by an external or lifestyle factor. Drinking alcohol, caffeinated beverages, or too much of any fluid can cause a temporary loss of bladder control. Some medications — such as blood pressure drugs, muscle relaxants, sedatives, and some heart medicines — may also lead to a short spell of incontinence. A urinary tract infection may also lead to instances of incontinence.

Other causes of incontinence include:
Aging: As you age, your bladder muscles becomes weaker and incontinence becomes more likely. Any issues with your blood vessels will make this situation worse.
Vaginal delivery or surgery in the pelvis: Any damage caused to your pelvic floor muscles can lead to incontinence, since these muscles support your bladder. In some cases, they can be damaged or weakened by surgery—usually during a procedure to remove the uterus—or during childbirth.
Enlarged prostate: In nearly all men, the prostate gland enlarges with age. It is common for men to experience some incontinence as a result.
Cancer and stones: Prostate cancer in men, or bladder cancer in men or women can cause incontinence. In some cases, the cancer’s treatment will cause incontinence as a side-effect. A tumor, whether malignant or benign, can also cause incontinence by blocking the usual flow of urine. Kidney or bladder stones can also have the same effect, say experts.

Evaluation of the man or woman with incontinence
The condition is determined after a person records regular urine leakages. Diagnosis of urinary incontinence may involve a physical exam, an ultrasound, urodynamic testing and tests including cystoscopy, urinalysis and a bladder stress test. Sometimes, I may ask the person to keep a bladder diary.

Prevention
Although it is not always possible to prevent UI, one can lower its risk by practicing Kegel exercises, especially during pregnancy, following a healthy high-fiber diet, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding caffeine and acidic foods.

Treatment of this condition
Most cases of urinary incontinence can be treated with lifestyle changes and bladder training exercises but medication and other coping strategies like use of diapers (that can absorb the excess urine) are also used if the problem is due to urgency or mixed incontinence. There are a few effective ways to put an end to your battle with incontinence, such as –

• Drink fluids in moderation
• Empty the bladder completely
• Lose weight
• Avoid drinking tea and coffee
• Stop drinking alcohol
• Treat digestive problems
• Read labels on medications
• Apart from these, there is a therapy to improve the symptoms of frequency, nocturia, urgency, and urge incontinence.
Treatment options also include anticholinergics, antispasmodic agents, and tricyclic antidepressants (Tofranil). Pharmacologic therapy for stress incontinence and an overactive bladder may be most effective when combined with a pelvic exercise regimen.

Some surgical procedures like tape or sling procedures, bladder suspension, urethral bulking agents, artificial urinary sphincter in men with incontinence after prostate surgery and other surgical procedures are available as treatment.

Bottom Line: Men and women who suffer from incontinence don’t have to suffer in silence and wear diapers. Help is available. See your doctor to discuss an evaluation and treatment options.

A Two-Minute Solution To Solving Your Lack of Orgasms

December 28, 2014

If asked the young women readers, if I could give you a pill that would reduce your loss of urine, improve the muscle and strength in your pelvis and increase your chances of reaching an orgasm, would you like a prescription? Every woman I ask about this medication always says yes they would like a prescription. Now if I told them, it wasn’t a pill but it was a simple exercise that they could do for just two minutes a day, that they could do anywhere, at almost any time, which would accomplish those above objectives many of the women would say no, not interested. How about writing for that pill?

Let me introduce you to Kegel exercises. Kegel exercises are an easy way of strengthening both your vaginal wall muscles and the muscles that control urination and bowel movements (which can also reduce the effects of urinary incontinence.

Older women and women who have had children are especially at risk of weakened pelvic floor muscles.

All you have to do is contract and release the muscles in the pelvic area, squeezing them for 5-10 seconds and then relaxing for 5 seconds each time.

The most important thing is to locate the muscles you’re trying to strengthen, and to get used to the sensation of exercising them. The best way of doing this is to try to stop your urine mid-flow when you go to the restroom. If you do this successfully then you’ve found the muscles you’re looking for.

I suggest that you repeat the cycle of contracting and relaxing ten times per session, and try to fit in three sessions per day which should take you just two minutes. This shouldn’t be difficult as, going to the gym, using weights, doing push-ups or lunges. Honestly, these exercises can be done anywhere, at anytime, without anyone even realizing you’re doing them.

If done properly, you should notice a difference (enhanced sensation during sex and less leakage) in 4-6 weeks.

According to sex experts, it’s not just women who can benefit from Kegel exercises: “Pelvic floor exercises can also benefit men with problems such as erectile dysfunction (difficulty getting or keeping an erection), premature ejaculation, or difficulty with urination.

Bottom Line: A Kegel a day may just keep the doctor away and put a little zing in your sex life. Try it for a few weeks and if you aren’t completely satisfied, I’ll refund your money! ☺

For more information on Kegel exercises go to my website:

http://neilbaum.com/articles/pelvic-exercises-for-women-kegel-exercise

or go to YouTube.com for a video on the same subject

Urinary Incontinence-Don’t Suffer In Silence

December 20, 2014

Urinary incontinence is one of life’s most embarrassing problems. Millions of American women suffer from incontinence in silence. I see dozens of women every month with this problem and so many of them have been wearing pads and diapers for years because they were too embarrassed to bring up the problem with their physician. This blog will discuss the problem and why it is important to see a physician to get treatment.

There are millions of people who deal with the embarrassing and disruptive effects of urinary incontinence, yet it’s a health secret that is rarely discussed. Contrary to what a lot of people think, urinary incontinence is not a normal sign of aging. Yes, it is more common in older men and women but you don’t have to live with the problem as treatments are available.

There are several reasons for urinary incontinence, but for women, one of the most common is weakened muscles in the pelvic floor.
A woman’s body goes through many changes during a lifetime and weakness or injury to muscles in the pelvic floor can cause health issues for women of all ages. The group of muscles in the pelvic floor can be affected by aging, childbirth, posture or injury. This loss of support of the pelvic muscles can result in incontinence, pelvic pain, or pain with intercourse.

Weakened pelvic floor muscles can be strengthened with Kegel exercises. (see my website, http://www.neilbaum.com, for more information on Kegel exercises). For the problem of urgency and frequency and urge incontinence or overactive bladder, there are effective medications to treat this condition. Finally, for women with both kinds of incontinence due to weakened pelvic muscles, they can be treated successfully with physical therapy.

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you should speak to your physician as help is available:
Do you usually get a strong urge to urinate?
Do you always make it to the bathroom on time?
Do you leak urine when you sneeze or cough?
Do you leak urine during physical activity?
Do you get up more than once per night to urinate?
Do you feel heaviness in the pelvic area?

Bottom Line: If you’ve been keeping urinary incontinence a secret, you’re not alone. You don’t have to accept it. Help is available. Talk to your doctor.

Bladder Symptoms-Stop Depending On Depends!

November 28, 2014

Millions of American women suffer from urinary bladder problems. Unfortunately, they suffer in silence as women feel too embarrassed to discuss their symptoms with their physicians. This article will discuss the common symptoms of bladder control and what can be done about it that doesn’t require a diaper or Depends.
Share

The involuntary leaking of urine is a distressing symptom which is associated with loss of confidence, self esteem, relationship difficulties and sometimes depression. Some women deal with the situation by avoiding socializing with family and friends, wearing dark clothes and frequently changing their clothing, using scents, sanitary pads and even diapers.
Bladder difficulties can affect all age groups, but are more common in middle age and older women. It is likely that as many as one in five women experience incontinence at some stage in their lives. Approximately 70 per cent of urinary incontinence sufferers tolerate the symptoms and those who seek medical help wait for an average of four years because of embarrassment, shame and stigma.

Talking about these symptoms is difficult but women do not need to feel reluctant about seeking help as so many women can be effectively treated without surgery.

The biggest risk factor for women is damage to the pelvic floor especially related to pregnancy and child birth. Other conditions include extreme sports, chronic coughing and heavy lifting. Contributing causes include obesity, smoking and drugs that affect the bladder or the muscle that holds urine inside the bladder.
There are two main types of incontinence: stress and urge. Urine loss in the stress type is preceded by increasing the pressure within the abdomen such as occurs with laughing, sneezing, or coughing. Women experiencing urge incontinence have a compelling urge to pass urine, which is impossible to control and causes leaking.

Treatment can start with measures, which do not involve medication, but can be followed by pharmacotherapy if the conservative measure are not effective.

Initially patients are advised to decrease the intake of caffeine and carbonated drinks, smoking and avoiding constipation.
Pelvic floor exercises or Kegel exercises, are the recommended first line treatment for stress, mixed and urgency incontinence and result in significant improvement in up to 80 per cent of cases. Bladder training and electrical stimulation are other effective ways of treating incontinence.

Bottom Line: Wearing a diaper to staying at home because of the loss of urine, is not acceptable to most women who suffer from incontinence. It doesn’t have to be that way. See your doctor and he\she can often find a solution that will make you dry, comfortable, and lead you to a healthy lifestyle.