It’s a secret most women would rather keep behind closed doors, a bladder control issue, or female incontinence.
“Incontinence is leakage of urine when you don’t expect it,” says Dr. Sarah DiGiorgi, an obstetrician/gynecologist on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.
The issue isn’t cut and dry. Female incontinence falls into two distinct categories: stress and urgent. They can both put a damper on a woman’s quality of life.
“There is incontinence related to an anatomical problem where the bladder is not well supported and that causes stress incontinence and the symptoms of stress incontinence would be leaking when you cough or laugh or sneeze or jump,” says Dr. DiGiorgi.
There are several treatment options for stress incontinence, including surgery.
“There are different exercises that you can do to try to improve that condition and sometimes that requires a surgical correction, where the bladder needs to be re-suspended,” says Dr. DiGiorgi.
Urgent incontinence relates to frequency, going constantly or without warning.
“Urgent incontinence is when people have that sensation of having to go to the bathroom that gotta go gotta go gotta go feeling,” says Dr. DiGiorgi.
Doctors find diet and even allergies can make the going problem worse.
“Stay away from acidic type foods, alcohol and caffeine, those would be the top three. Then that urge sensation really decreases and you have plenty of more time to get to the bathroom,” says Dr. DiGiorgi.
If you thought incontinence only affects older women, think again. Twenty to 30% of young women yearly reported a leakage, the result of excess weight, high impact sports and even childbirth.
“If you’re having stress incontinence that is more common for people who have had a very large pregnancy,” says Dr. DiGiorgi.Doctors suggest you get treatment if it’s putting a drain on your lifestyle.