Skip to content

Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

Oops, I Leaked: Tales of Incontinence

Gotta go all the time? Worried you'll wet your pants if you laugh too hard? You may be suffering from mild incontinence, and you're not alone.
Font Size
A
A
A
By Suzanne Wright
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

"I'm more sensitive now to women when they say they've 'gotta go,'" says 51-year-old professional speaker, author, and prostate cancer survivor Chuck Gallagher. The Greenville, S.C., resident experienced mild incontinence for six weeks following his laparoscopic surgery. "Guys don't want to talk about it; it's embarrassing. They think they have to suck it up and deal with it."

And men aren't the only ones who don't want to talk about their little leaks or mild incontinence.

According to the National Association for Continence (NAFC), 25 million Americans suffer from transient or chronic urinary incontinence. Statistically, it's a condition that skews toward women; 75%-80% of sufferers are female. Even more staggering, women wait nearly seven years before talking to their doctor or seeking treatment. But regardless of gender, one-third of the population thinks incontinence is a natural part of aging, something they have to contend with rather than conquer. 

"It's time for incontinence to come out of the 'water closet,'" says Jill Rabin, MD, chief of ambulatory care and urogynecology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y. She is the co-author of Mind Over Bladder: I Never Met a Bathroom I Didn't Like.  "This is a quality-of-life issue. You don't have to tolerate it. It's treatable in almost every situation."

Talking about a leaky bladder or the frequency of your bathroom breaks may not be fodder for Facebook updates. But more and more people are taking Rabin's advice and doing something about their incontinence. WebMD talked to real women and men who experienced incontinence at various points in their lives. Read on for their stories.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Today on WebMD

Incontinence Women Slideshow
SLIDESHOW
exam room
Slideshow
 
Public restroom door sign
Slideshow
nachos and beer
Article
 
woman holding water
Slideshow
Food That Makes You Gotta Go
Slideshow
 
Male Incontinence Slideshow
Slideshow
sleepless woman
Article
 
Worried in bed
Article
woman standing in front of restroom sign
Slideshow
 
woman reading medicine bottle
Quiz
Woman on riverbank in autumn
Slideshow