By Meryl Davids Landau
When you were in your 20s and 30s, you probably ignored random aches or other minor physical annoyances, and they usually went away. But now those symptoms can come back — often with a different cause, and calling for more serious attention.
You're likely to be embarrassed, believe few others have the problem, just wish it would go away -- or all of the above.
But all of these conditions can affect your relationships and your sense of wellbeing. And treatment can provide relief of the symptoms, and in some cases, eliminate the condition altogether.
Here’s what you need to know about each of these conditions so you can get help, and start enjoying life again.
Overcoming Incontinence Symptoms
In recent years, incontinence has come out of the closet, thanks to U.S. Olympic speed skater Bonnie Blair and Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton, who both have publicly acknowledged their problems with incontinence, and raised public awareness.
Incontinence can affect women of all ages, but is more common as women get older. Incontinence is not, however, an inevitable part of aging.
Symptoms depend on the type of urinary incontinence you have, according to Halina Zyczynski, MD, director of the division of Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery at Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh, Penn. The two most common types are stress and urge incontinence.
In urge incontinence, as the name implies, you have a sudden need to urinate and may not be able to get to the bathroom soon enough to avoid leaking urine. While it is not completely understood, experts think the bladder muscle may give the wrong message to the brain, because the bladder feels more full than it really is. You may feel the urge to void even if you have just done so.