“OH, NO, NOT AGAIN!”
Do you ever leak when you exercise? Squirt when you cough or sneeze? Or hold back from laughing because you know a stream of urine is going to accompany the laughter?
If you said “yes” to any of the above, then you have experienced stress urinary incontinence (SUI). This type of urinary incontinence comes from weakened pelvic floor muscles and tissues. Then, all it takes is increased pressure on the bladder from exertion – as in exercise, a cough, a sneeze, a laugh, or lifting something heavy – to make the urine leak.
Avoiding exercise to prevent the embarrassment of leaking, being less engaged in social activities due to concerns regarding leaking and hygiene, and having daily activities interrupted are all examples of issues faced by those with SUI. Relying on expensive pads as one hopelessly accepts that this problem is “just part of aging” is also common for those suffering from stress incontinence. The person who SUI affects is often too embarrassed to let anyone know there is a problem and, therefore, suffers in silence. Yet each time the combination of weakened muscles with increased pressure on the bladder collides, the words muttered in the head of the person affected is “oh, no, not again!”
Despite how it feels, however, you are not alone. Statistically, 17% of people ages 30-39 have leakage with physical exertion. 29% of men and women ages 60-70 have leakage when coughing, sneezing or laughing.
But why does this happen? Both pregnancy and childbirth can lead to stretched and weakened pelvic floor muscles in women. The leakage in men can result from prostate problems or surgery. This type of urine leakage can be caused in either sex from taking certain medications or being overweight.
Stress incontinence is more common in women. It is also the most prevalent form of urinary incontinence affecting women. In fact, some statistics say an estimated 15 million women experience SUI in the U.S. alone.
Why is SUI so prevalent in older women? Of course it can happen at any age, especially if a woman has been pregnant or undergone childbirth, but it is believed that it is probably more frequent among older women due to hormonal changes during menopause.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way. One does not have to keep saying “oh, no, not again!” every time urinary leakage occurs from stress on the bladder.
Fortunately there is help. Contacting your physician and seeing your friendly, professional and well-trained pelvic floor physical therapist to design a comprehensive plan, fit for your particular needs, can turn your problem around. Together you can see if any of the following treatments, specific to stress urinary incontinence, are appropriate for you:
- Pelvic floor exercises/Kegel exercises
- A pessary
- Timed voiding/Bladder training
- Electrical stimulation
Regain your confidence when you move, lift, laugh or sneeze and no longer say “oh, no, not again!” as you learn how to improve and control stress urinary incontinence with help, rather than suffering alone.
Questions? Give me a call 816-607-3747 or message me. I’m always happy to chat.