- Posted by Samantha Hall
- On July 10, 2019
- 0 Comments
A new survey of 2,000 women revealed 7 in 10 women have experienced problems with bladder control.
We know that incontinence is more common in women than in men, however the prevalence of female incontinence is still underestimated. Urology specialist Jeremy Ockrim asserts, “around seven million have some degree of urinary incontinence. It’s a hidden problem, because so many are too embarrassed to seek help.” This problem could partly be due to the strong association between seniors and incontinence. In actual fact, incontinence affects females of all ages. The study by Always Discreet showed that one in three women aged 18 to 24 have had an “accident”.
“The Problem is Traditionally Associated with Older Women”
The most common type of incontinence in women is stress incontinence, in which leaks occur when pressure is placed on the bladder. Often caused by childbirth and excess weight gain, the condition affects around one in ten women aged 20 to 2.
What can Cause Incontinence in Women?
The following are common causes of female incontinence:
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Nerve Damage due to conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis
- Obesity and weight gain
Female incontinence can also be caused by consuming too much fluid and dietary factors. Consuming a lot of caffeine or sugary drinks is a common mistake that can aggravate the bladder. Expert Jo Lewin states, “coffee is a diuretic which encourages the release of water in the urine”. Similarly, eating a lot of acidic fruits such as oranges, grapefruits and lemons can trigger a sensitive bladder.
13% of women are unable to control themselves when lifting something heavy
One in four women haven’t been diagnosed
Seven in ten won’t talk to their GP about it
Laughing and running are common causes
16% of women with the condition have at least one episode per day
29 percent of women aged 18 to 24 are convinced they lack full bladder control
Combating the Taboo
To combat the taboo and encourage women to seek help, we need talk about incontinence like any other illness. Andre asserts, “incontinence is widespread and it’s the sign of an underlying illness that needs to be treated, it’s not a sign of weakness or laziness”. Incontinence products in the market are constantly being improved, so there is no need to avoid looking for protection. Designs such as Lights by TENA and Depend Comfort Protect Pants have a discreet appeal that has improved the stigma of incontinence products. You can now find shaped pads that are the size of sanitary towels, as well as pants that feel like normal underwear.
Have an Honest Discussion with your Doctor
If more women talk to their Doctors about incontinence, this may lead to improvement in treatment methods and management. Similarly, Doctors should be encouraged to ask women about their bladder health when necessary, such as after childbirth or before an operation. If professionals feel comfortable talking it, women are likely to be honest.
Get Involved Online
There are many online forums such as Incontinence UK and Women’s Health which allow you to talk to other women experiencing similar problems. This helps you recognise that you are not alone in experiencing bladder weakness, as well as being part of a community.
Talk to that Family Member
Are you suspicious that someone in your family has bladder problems? Instead of ignoring the topic, ask them about it in a gentle, understanding way. Explain that there are products available, and that you can point them in the right direction. If you are discussing health after childbirth with someone else, use this as an opportunity to bring up bladder weakness instead of tiptoeing round it.
Look out for Symptoms of Urinary Incontinence
If you feel like you have a problem with bladder control, don’t ignore it. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms:
- Urinating more than 9 times within a 24 hour period
- You are rushing to the toilet only to release a small amount
- Urinary urgency is interrupting your sleep
- Your life revolves around finding the nearest bathroom
- You are having accidents before reaching a bathroom
- Exercise or pressure on the bladder causes leaks