Around 46% of women ages 50 to 80 reportedly experienced urinary incontinence within the last year. So, if you’ve been dealing with incontinence, or involuntary urine loss, you’re not alone. The issue doesn’t just impact older women, it can impact anyone at any age, and often begins after childbirth.
Undue shame and the belief that it is a normal part of aging often lead women to not seek treatment for unwanted leaks and accidents. Even if many are not talking to their doctor about it, 49% of women expressed concern that symptoms would become worse over time. Luckily, there are some things you can do to help while mitigating the negative side effects of urinary incontinence.
What Causes Urinary Incontinence in Adults?
There are a wide variety of factors that may bring on urinary incontinence, some of these factors create temporary incontinence while others create a persistent issue. Urinary tract infection and constipation are separate issues that can bring on temporary (and more easily treatable) forms of urinary incontinence. On the other hand, persistent urinary incontinence is often harder to dry up and causes include:
- Pregnancy and childbirth: From hormonal changes to pressure on the bladder, stress incontinence is very common during pregnancy. Once the baby arrives, the problem may persist due to weakened muscles caused by vaginal delivery.
- Aging: As we age, muscles naturally weaken and this limits the amount of urine capacity your bladder has. In addition, aging often brings on involuntary bladder contractions. Once your body hits menopause, you will produce less estrogen, a beneficial hormone when it comes to the lining of the bladder and a healthy urethra.
- Tumor, urinary stones, or obstruction of any type: If there is a blockage in your urinary tract this can disrupt the flow of urine and cause incontinence. Urinary stones are another type of blockage that may form in the bladder and lead to issues with urine leakage.
- Neurological disorders: There are a variety of neurological disorders that can impact bladder function including multiple sclerosis, a stroke, brain tumor, spinal injury, or Parkinson’s disease.
At What Age Does Urinary Incontinence Start?
Urinary incontinence may start at any age but it most commonly begins at 50+. It’s more common in women than men due to the natural make up of female anatomy and the presence of additional risk factors such as child bearing.
Is Urinary Incontinence a Normal Part of Aging for Women?
It is normal for bladder muscles to weaken over time. If you are suddenly experiencing incontinence, you are not alone, and it is completely normal and nothing to be ashamed about. Still, don’t think of it as a normal part of aging you can’t control – you should still talk to your doctor about it as there may be things you can do to help. You don’t have to let urinary incontinence impact your quality of life.
Types of Urinary Incontinence
There are different types and severities of urinary incontinence. Some women experience minor leaks when sneezing, coughing, laughing, or jumping up and down. In some cases, the urge to urinate can come on so sudden and strong there simply isn’t time to make it to the bathroom before an accident ensues.
The main types of urinary incontinence are stress incontinence, urge incontinence, functional incontinence, overflow incontinence, and mixed incontinence.
- Stress incontinence: This is when you experience leaks from coughing, laughing, jumping, exercising, or basically doing any activity that puts pressure on your bladder.
- Overflow incontinence: Your bladder never completely empties itself, causing frequent or regular leaks.
- Functional incontinence: Some type of impairment, be it physical or mental, that inhibits your ability to make it to the bathroom on time. For example: arthritis pain makes it challenging to quickly unbutton your pants.
- Urge incontinence: The strong, sudden, and uncontrollable urge to pee that hits seemingly out of nowhere leaving you no time to get to the bathroom. This type of incontinence can be brought on by a neurological disorder, diabetes, or a more minor infection.
- Mixed incontinence: This is usually a combination of stress and urge incontinence, but may be any combination of incontinence types.
How to Manage Urinary Incontinence
Some beneficial things you can do to help manage urinary incontinence include:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Make time every day to practice pelvic floor exercises.
- Add more fiber to your diet to help prevent constipation, a potential cause of urinary incontinence.
- Steer clear of things that irritate the bladder such as alcohol, caffeine, and acidic foods.
- Wear Proof® Underwear.
There are so many benefits to wearing underwear for bladder leaks. For one, it can provide you peace of mind so that you are ready for anything – day or night. Plus, our Proof® underwear for bladder leaks fights odors to help you feel more confident all day long, which is great considering 32% of women reported concern over odors caused by their incontinence.
When Should I Worry About Incontinence?
More than half of women will not talk to their doctor about urinary incontinence because they do not see it as an important health risk. Although, urinary incontinence often decreases quality of life and may lead to avoidance of once beloved activities, such as exercise.
Some signs it’s time to seek professional help for urinary incontinence include:
- Your quality of life is being negatively impacted by leaks and accidents.
- You are at risk of falling more often due to rushing to the bathroom all the time.
- You are isolating yourself and/or limiting social interactions.
- There is some concern that a more serious underlying condition is causing the problem.
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Don’t let urinary incontinence steal the fun out of your life. Our Proof® underwear for bladder leaks offer comfort and invisible protection that is sure to become a staple in your undie drawer. From period underwear to underwear for bladder leaks, we’ve really got you covered!
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