Incontinence is a bladder condition that is, unfortunately, experienced by many Americans. Leaking from time to time shouldn’t be an embarrassment. According to studies conducted through Kimberly-Clark Corporation, US Incidence Study, 2012, 21 percent of people between the ages of 50 to 59 experience incontinence issues and 11 percent are age 20 to 29.
“I remember it clearly! In March 2012, after a surgery, [doctors] let me know that I may have [incontinence], but there was no more discussion after that. When you get home and this happens, it’s a very lonely place. I started searching on the Depend [website] and that was very helpful,” said Kim who is currently living with incontinence. She learned about her issue when she was 44. More than a year ago, she connected with Depend and hopes to get rid of the stigma and initiate dialogue about incontinence.
In fact, bladder issues affect active men and women of all ages. If you experience leaking or symptoms associated with bladder incontinence, it’s always best to speak with a medical professional to get properly diagnosed.
According to Dr. Jennifer Berman, urologist, director of the Berman Women’s Wellness Center, and Depend brand health expert; incontinence is a medical condition and there are many people who suffer. Perhaps, the embarrassment is the stigma of bladder issues being associated with elderly people.
“Once you begin the dialogue with your doctor and you get reassurance and treatment, that gives people the confidence to feel they’re not alone,” said Dr. Berman.
Choosing the proper protection to wear under your clothes is also important because that can help decrease the feeling of embarrassment.
Depend has been a leader in comfortable protective underwear, and now it includes Depend underwear with new Fit-Flex protection for men and women. The new underwear features more Lycra strands to establish a smooth, comfortable close-to-body fit, and it provides you with confidence. Furthermore, it’s discreet in fit and it provides worry-free odor control.
Kim stated that in addition to wearing the Depend Fit-Flex protection underwear, it also helps to do various pelvic floor exercises.
Thus, medical professionals advise specific steps to help control bladder issues. “[I] teach my patients to do exercises that improve their pelvic floor strength and tone,” stated Dr. Berman. “One exercise most people have heard about is the Kegel exercises, which is squeezing with the pelvic floor muscles.”
According to Dr. Berman, it’s important to also modify liquid intake to four, 8-ounce glasses of water per day to decrease the risk for leakage. Also, avoid caffeinated beverages such as coffee and soda, and empty your bladder every two hours instead of only urinating when there is an urge.
It’s important to listen to your body. If you have bladder symptoms such as change in urine color, leakage, frequency or urgency, have an open dialogue with your health provider.
Bladder issues can also have an effect on intimacy. Kim shared, there are times when incontinence can act up and affect intimacy; however, communicating with your partner is important. “I’m lucky enough to have a very good relationship with my partner, and we are comfortable talking and we communicate well,” Kim said.
“If a woman is experiencing changes in her bladder function it’s extremely important she feel comfortable talking about this with her health care provider. Yes, bladder control issues can be associated with other medical problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, prolapsed and anatomic functional problems related to the pelvic floor,” said Dr. Berman.