In a world where oversharing is the norm, it’s amazing to me how few women admit to having urinary incontinence. But, it’s estimated that up to 50% of all women will experience the involuntary loss of urine at some time in their life.1 That’s a lot of women dealing with the psychological and physical effects of this common problem on their own.
What is it?
There are several types of incontinence. Urge urinary incontinence is the sudden and often overwhelming feeling that you need to empty your bladder. Stress urinary incontinence presents itself as a sudden loss of urine after a cough, sneeze, laugh, or physical activity. Mixed urinary incontinence is the combination of both stress and urge.
But Why Did This Happen To Me?!?
You might have thought that if you had no family history or previous issues in the pelvic floor department, you were in the clear. You can suffer from stress incontinence because of obesity or the long-term effects of pregnancy and childbirth. Urge incontinence can be brought on by multiple sclerosis, bladder cancer, Parkinson’s disease, smoker’s cough, high-impact sports like running or jumping, and more.
What’s sad is that only about 50% of women suffering from incontinence symptoms seek help. When asked, most women cited embarrassment as being a major factor in preventing them from looking for answers. But I’m here to tell you that knowing what you’re dealing with will bring you peace of mind.
The first step is to see your physician. She’ll ask you some basic questions about your symptoms and then she’ll perform simple tests to look for underlying causes. Once your doctor has identified that your condition is not caused by something that can be repaired with medication or surgery, she’ll likely talk about health changes you can make to help alleviate your symptoms. The first will probably be to tell you to lose weight since “obesity can lead to a nearly 4.2-fold increase in the risk of developing stress urinary incontinence.“3 In fact, a study completed in 2008 found that mid-life incontinent women saw no worsening of their symptoms that could be attributed to their hormonal changes. Instead, for each pound of weight gained, the odds of their symptoms worsening increased.4 So it isn’t getting older that’s the problem, it’s the weight gain that’s often associated with peri-menopause and menopause.
Caring for yourself – finding the right protection for you
The benefit of getting a diagnosis is that you can let the worry and anxiety of the unknown go and start dealing with your symptoms. The first step is to remind yourself that this isn’t anything to be embarrassed about. You buy clinical strength deodorant to prevent your from sweating through your shirt and maxi pads during menstruation, so why all the worry about wearing a product that protects against urine leakage? There are a surprising amount of options available to fit your needs and lifestyle. Take a moment and check out the Depend® website where you’ll find some great solutions as well as meet other real people who deal with adult incontinence.
Not sure which incontinent solution is best for you? Order a sample pack so you can try them before you buy them!
- Depend® Silhouette® and Silhouette® Active Fit* for Women with breathable cotton-like fabric that’s ultra-smooth under your clothes. You’ll receive one each of their Beige Silhouette® Brief and Lavender Silhouette® Active Fit* Brief in either small/medium or large/XL
- Depend® Night Defense* Underwear for Women – designed to let you get a great night’s sleep. Choose small/medium, large, or extra-large.
- Depend® FIT-FLEX® Underwear for Women – designed to move with you. You’ll receive two Depend® FIT-FLEX® Underwear in small/medium, large, or extra-large
To receive your free sample, visit Depend.com and provide basic information (name, address, email, birthdate, etc.) and complete a simple four question survey. That’s it! Your free sample should arrive in 3 to 10 days.
Why I Know So Much About Incontinence
Yes, I know a lot about this condition because I have mixed urinary incontinence. It started ten years ago as urge incontinence, and in the last three years, it has progressed to mixed. I’ll be sharing my diagnosis, how I keep it from affecting my self-esteem, and why I hope more women start talking about this common condition in a post next week. I hope you’ll check back and share your story too!
Do you deal with bladder leakage? It’s okay, you can share!
This post was created in partnership with Depend and Womensforum. All opinions are my own.
1 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2014). Committee on Practice Bulletins–Gynecology. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 603: Urinary incontinence in women. Obstet Gynecol, 123, 1403-7.
2 Nitti, Victor W. “The Prevalence of Urinary Incontinence.” Reviews in Urology 3.Suppl 1 (2001): S2–S6. Print.
3 doi: 10.18043/ncm.77.6.423 North Carolina Medical Journal November-December 2016 vol. 77 no. 6 423-425
4 Waetjen, L. Elaine et al. “Factors Associated with Worsening and Improving Urinary Incontinence Across the Menopausal Transition.” Obstetrics and Gynecology 111.3 (2008): 667–677. PMC. Web. 14 May 2017.