Finding Your Solutions: Research Pays Off
Urinary incontinence has several different causes and figuring out what’s behind it can be challenging, though it’s well worth the effort. Determining what treatment and protection options are right for you can also take some time. That may be why so many women delay getting medical attention for their bladder control problems. The National Association for Continence reports that, on average, women experience symptoms for 6.5 years before they even seek treatment.
Why is it so difficult? Women are embarrassed to share intimate details with their doctors and fear of the unknown can get in the way. What tests will they do? Will it be humiliating? And using protective products to manage incontinence can feel like you’re admitting that you’re “old”. It may help to know that it’s not uncommon due to what women’s bodies go through with pregnancy and childbirth.
It may help to know that you’re not alone. One in three women suffer incontinence of some kind, whether it’s a leak when they cough or simply not being able to get to the bathroom in time. Here are a few suggestions for finding the right treatment and protection for you:
Don’t wait. Would it surprise you to hear that 180% of incontinence cases can be cured or improved? As soon as you notice leaks, get to the doctor. If you’re feeling embarrassed about sharing the details of your condition with a physician, you’ll need to rethink that. A doctor has based their career on helping people and they see all kinds of conditions. They are there to help, not humiliate. If you feel more comfortable, consider seeing a woman doctor.
Consult with a specialist. A urologist will be able to do more extensive testing than your family physician, which will help them discover what’s causing your bladder control issues. Since many of the problems that women experience are related to the muscles that make up the pelvic floor, you may also see a 2urogynecologist, a surgeon who specialists in the care of women with pelvic floor disorders. (For more information on pelvic floor issues, visit Voices for Pelvic Floor Disorders.
Speak up. As you go through tests and treatments, if you feel uncomfortable or as if something’s not working as expected, it’s okay to speak up and tell your doctor. If you’re not comfortable taking a certain medication, a treatment isn’t really working, or you don’t like the side effects, ask about an alternative. Your physician needs your input. Since you know your body, you are the ultimate source of information about what ‘s happening with it.
Try several solutions, if necessary. Determining the cause of your bladder control issues, then coming up with the right treatment for you can take a bit of time. Incontinence can be treated with medications, physical therapy, surgery and other methods, so if one of them doesn’t quite suit you, continue to try other options until you feel completely comfortable with your choice. In this situation, patience will pay off. “Settling” for minimal treatment, without exploring alternatives, could mean missing a solution that works closer to 100%.
Wear suitable protection. In the early stages of bladder incontinence, many women resort to feminine hygiene products, or even tissue or paper towels to absorb their leaks. Denial is not your friend in this situation, as incontinence products, like incontinence pads and the new Depend Silhouette Briefs, are specifically designed to manage urine. They hold much more fluid without leaking and they help with odor control, too. Just as in treatment, you may have to try several different styles to determine what works best for you in what circumstance. It’s worth it to know that you’re protected from leaks whether you’re at home, at work or asleep.
1Source: National Association for Continence
2Source: National Urogynecologic Society