Perhaps you were drawn to this article because you have been leaking pee when you sneeze or jump or play Cards Against Humanity with your funniest friends while drinking beer.
Maybe you have tried perfecting a Kegel exercise with little to no improvement in your symptoms.
Whether it’s a squirt, a splash or a deluge, it’s important to start dealing with this annoying and embarrassing problem with your doctor’s help and not just with Poise pads.
According to the National Association For Continence, 1 in 4 women over the age of 18 experience episodes of urine leakage. That’s millions of ladies, feeling self conscious and unsexy! The sad fact is that many women are reluctant to talk about these episodes and begin to secretly plan their lives around the possibility of peeing their pants. Over time this problem can escalate from needing to wear a panty liner and locating the closest bathroom to always packing a change of clothes and asking your best friend if you smell like ammonia. On average it takes a women 6.5 years to seek help for this problem.
Urinary incontinence (UI) can have many causes ranging from muscle weakness and nerve damage and to medications. While the most common causes in women are pregnancy, childbirth and menopause, urinary incontinence factors can also include lifestyle habits such as obesity, heavy weightlifting and consuming dietary irritants. 2
The good news is that there are medical doctors and physical therapists researching and developing ways to prevent, improve and even cure UI. A urogynecologist and a pelvic floor physical therapist are two such professionals who help in dealing with UI. If you are suffering with UI, it’s time to take steps forward to bring your life back in balance.
Start by talking to your doctor. Many insurances will require you to get a referral from your Primary Care Physician before you can go to a specialist.
Next, become knowledgeable about your condition and the variety of treatments. A Women’s Guide to Pelvic Health by Elizabeth E. Houser, MD and Stephanie Riley Hahn, PT is an excellent book to get you started. There are also helpful online resources such as The National Association for Continence , The Pelvic Guru and Julie Wiebe, PT.
Finally, the more you know about yourself as a patient and a learner, the better decisions you can make. Some people readily absorb medical information and have the capacity to take action without too much self doubt or fear. While others experience trepidation around doctors and scientific articles. If you gobble up all things body, take a journey on the Internet and make a list of topics and resources you want to discuss with your doctors. If the thought of this makes you stressed and panicky, ask a good friend to be your coach in this process. He or she can take notes at appointments, discuss an article you read together and be an ear if you feel overwhelmed.
Either way, taking good notes with dates is very important. It will help you remember which specialist you visited and when as well as what treatments you tried, what worked and what didn’t. If you become faced with the prospect of surgery, you may want to know you utilized as many resources as possible before such a serious step.
To learn about my personal journey with UI, including what really happens at pelvic floor physical therapy, my failure with Kegels and the Cards Against Humanity story, go HERE
About the author:
Kerry Ann Madden has been known to pee her pants whilst jumping, doing heavy squats with 100lbs on her back, coughing, sneezing and laughing hysterically (but not all at the same time). She is the mom of 2 remarkable young women and wife of an amazingly supportive husband. She is an avid long distance runner and weight lifter.
Professionally Kerry is a Master Trainer, Nutrition Coach and MedFit Network Member