Is the only time you run when you have to make it fast to the bathroom?
You might have even given up on exercise or…have limited sexual activity because you’re afraid of leaking, or you just don’t feel clean. As a woman, no doubt this change in lifestyle may impact your self-esteem, as well as your feelings of sensuality and sexuality. We’d like to share with you what you must know about your leaky bladder so you can take a step forward and take action to manage your condition!
1. You’re not alone and no, it’s not all about aging! Over 30 million women suffer from leaky bladders. There are many causes but about 30% of new moms will also experience a leaky bladder after childbirth and women in menopause also experience leaking as a “side effect” of low estrogen.
2. Do you leak when you cough, laugh or sneeze? This is a kind of leaky bladder and the most common type called stress urinary incontinence or SUI. Often called “the laugh, cough, sneeze” incontinence, SUI is often caused by weak pelvic floor muscles or damage to the pelvic floor after childbirth, but other contributing factors include menopause, obesity, diabetes, hysterectomy, smoking, chronic coughing, and constipation. Some people even appear to have an anatomical disposition to stress incontinence-meaning if your mother had it, you may, too.
3. Are you dealing with all the effects of menopause? Well leaking urine may be something you weren’t quite prepared for and boy, does it mess with our body image. After all, life is just starting to get good…the kids are out of the house, you may even have some extra time to travel or join an exercise program…and boom! You’re never dry…or at least it doesn’t feel that way to you. The first thing to do is talk to your doctor about it to determine the cause. It may be a loss of estrogen, which wreaks havoc on pelvic muscle strength as well as contributes to overactive bladder.
4. No matter your age, effective treatments are available for urinary incontinence and about 80 to 90 percent of women who seek help will experience significant improvement in their incontinence symptoms. Some types of incontinence can be treated with drugs. However, there are exercises, called kegel exercises, that help you build up the pelvic floor muscles. These improve the strength of the urethral sphincter which regulates the flow of urine.
5. You can strengthen your pelvic floor muscles by exercising your kegel muscles, as one option. You might enjoy it so much, you start to feel sexy again! Lifestyle modifications can also help, such as avoiding coffee and alchoholic drinks as well as cigarette smoking. Losing weight may also take pressure off your pelvic floor muscles as well, and you’ll have fewer leaks.