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Talking to Your Doctor About Stress Incontinence continued...

If your doctor does not ask, Rosenman advocates the straightforward approach. Try something like: "I'm having some problems with my bladder." At that point, if your doctor does not pepper you with questions about how often you experience symptoms, and how long it has been going on, Rosenman suggests asking for a referral to another doctor or to a specialist, such as a urogynecologist. A urogynecologist is a gynecologist who has extra training in urology.

Talking to your partner about stress incontinence is not simple, either, Rosenman acknowledges. But she tells women it may be the most important thing they can do to help their relationship. Communicating well about the problem, she writes in her book, will lead to greater affection and trust. And getting the problem out in the open is often a relief, she says.

In addition to good communication and effective treatments, Rosenman says some simple measures can help women with stress incontinence enjoy a better sex life. Among other tips, she tells them to always empty the bladder before intercourse and to cut back a bit on fluids before intercourse. Don't dehydrate yourself, but don't overdo the fluids, she says. And she encourages experimentation to find positions that are more comfortable, reducing overall anxiety.

In getting more comfortable with talking about stress incontinence, you might also take a cue from two famous Olympic athletes from the U.S. -- speed skater Bonnie Blair and gymnast Mary Lou Retton. In recent years, both have spoken publicly about their experiences with incontinence, raising awareness that the problem exists and, more importantly, that treatments can improve or eliminate the problem.

Embarrassed by Incontinence?

A visual guide of
incontinence tips to reduce embarrassment.
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