Don’t wait. With a little effort, you can overcome the challenges of a leaky bladder. It can be as easy as few simple changes in your daily routine.
First, you’ll want to know what’s going on. You might have leakage when you laugh, cough, or sneeze. Doctors call that “stress incontinence.” Or you could feel an unexpected, sudden urge to pee. That’s called “urge incontinence.” Though it happens mostly to women, it can happen to anyone at any age. Although people who have it may not talk about it, it’s more common than you think.
Bladder control problems aren’t something people like to talk about, but many people have them. Millions of U.S. adults have overactive bladder (OAB). And many of them also deal with incontinence -- the loss of bladder control that leads to leaking.
“They might avoid participating in certain activities for fear they won’t be close to a bathroom and might have an accident,” says Margaret Mueller, MD, assistant professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Most commonly, I hear...
Great news. You have plenty of treatment options, and the outlook is good. About 80% of those who are affected by urinary incontinence can get better with treatment.
Sometimes a simple dietary change, such as cutting back on fluids, is all that is needed.
Try a combination of approaches. For instance, your doctor may recommend that you do Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and to use pads or disposable underwear just in case. Experiment to see what you’re comfortable with that works best for you.
If you need a little more help, your doctor may recommend prescription medication or a surgical procedure. He might suggest “sling surgery,” an operation designed to support the bladder or urethra and prevent leaks.