We all eat, sleep and go to the bathroom. And, many of us (women especially), leak urine.
There, we said it.
But before you navigate away from this blog, let us explain: You are not alone. One in three women suffer from unwanted, unplanned and uncontrollable urine leakage. There are options to treat the cause of urine leakage, not just the symptoms. More and more, women are speaking out and taking back control of their bodies and their lives. But there are many myths out there about bladder leakage (urinary incontinence).
Test your knowledge by taking a 5-question quiz then checking your answers below:
Don’t worry if you didn’t get 100% on the quiz. There are many myths about urinary incontinence. Check the answers below:
1. It only happens to women who’ve given birth.
FALSE. One in three women suffer from unwanted, unplanned and uncontrollable urine leakage. And that’s women of all ages, who have had kids and those who have not.
Also, 1 in 4 female collegiate athletes, without kids, suffer from urinary incontinence.
Sadly, if left untreated, urinary incontinence can worsen with age. A new survey from the University of Michigan (U of M) shows that 50% of women over age 50 suffer from urinary incontinence.
2. If you have urinary incontinence you have to wear an adult diaper or a pad.
TRUE and FALSE. It depends on the severity of your urinary incontinence condition—basically how much urine you leak. There are three main types of urinary incontinence:
- Stress urinary incontinence happens when movements like sneezing, coughing, laughing, jumping or working out puts stress on your bladder causing it to leak urine.
- Urge urinary incontinence occurs when one of your pelvic floor muscles (the detrusor) which surrounds your bladder, spasms. The spasm makes you feel like you need to urinate immediately. This is also called “overactive bladder.”
- Mixed urinary incontinence is basically a combination of urge and stress incontinence.
Learn more about the real cause of urinary incontinence: weak pelvic floor muscles.
3. If it were a problem, my doctor would talk about it.
FALSE. Doctors don’t always ask their patients if they’re experiencing urine leakage. Partly because they are uncomfortable—yes, even doctors get weird asking private questions. But studies show that doctors also don’t ask patients because of, “time constraints, a lack of awareness about available and effective treatments, or patient embarrassment.” Also, doctors think if it’ a real problem, the patient will bring it up.
In years past, providers didn’t ask patients if they suffered from urine leakage because they couldn’t offer any treatments that fit the patient’s lifestyle—until recently. There are effective solutions for urinary incontinence, and more doctors are starting to offer them every day. Because urinary incontinence is a real, serious problem that affects women’s lives.
“Depending on the level of incontinence, their general functioning might also be affected, as patients often start to isolate themselves and may avoid social interaction to prevent possible embarrassment. This can even lead to depression,” said Dr Ulla Botha, a psychiatrist and senior lecturer at the Department of Psychiatry at the Stellenbosch University.
4. Pads, pills or surgery are the only solutions.
FALSE. These are the old treatments for urinary incontinence. They’re the most well-known treatments, but they’re not the most effective or lifestyle friendly.
We have made progress on non-invasive treatments for urinary incontinence, and it’s time we start talking about it. We know it can be uncomfortable, but if you are experiencing urinary incontinence (whether you leak a little when you cough or sneeze, or a heavier leakage during the day), please talk to your healthcare provider.
“Urinary incontinence is a common condition that may not be routinely screened for in primary care, yet it can impact a woman’s quality of life and health, and is usually treatable,” said Dr. Carolyn Swenson, specialist in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery at University of Michigan. “What I’d like people to take away from this is that urinary incontinence is common and treatable and that women don’t have to just live with it.”
Viveve is an innovative global women’s intimate health company offers tangible, non-invasive solutions for urinary incontinence. Check out this new study on women’s urinary incontinence that shows a 73% decrease in urine leaks after just one treatment.
5. It’s embarrassing to talk about.
TRUE. Many women feel ashamed to talk about urinary incontinence. They think they are the only one suffering or that it’s just “part of being a woman” or just “part of life” so they don’t feel the need to talk about it.
The survey from U of M showed that two-thirds of women who have urinary incontinence haven’t talked to their doctor about it! It’s time we remove the stigma around urine leakage. We don’t have to suffer alone in silence.
Check out four ways to remove the stigma from urinary incontinence.
Tying it all together
This isn’t about shaming or blaming, it’s about providing awareness and education for this condition affecting 1 in 3 women worldwide. And, it’s about sharing solutions for this condition. We don’t have to live with urine leaks.
Because life is stressful enough, and we have enough to worry about.
Ladies, we deserve a solution for the problem, not a pad and a pat on the back saying “it’s just something you have to live with.” Urinary incontinence is normal, but you don’t have to live with leaks. Treating your leakage is one less thing to worry about.
Learn more about the cause of urinary incontinence and modern solutions here.