Seek help and ease urinary incontinence
It's likely that if you suffer from urinary incontinence, you won't want to talk about it; especially as a woman.
In fact, a new study by the Femifree Lifestyle report has looked into just how many ladies suffer in silence with this problem. From the research, it was found that one in three women are affected by urinary incontinence in the UK, though 68 per cent haven't sought advice from their doctor, and a staggering 57 per cent haven't even told their family or friends.
And it gets worse, with almost a third of women who have the condition revealing they try to laugh less in order to avoid any humiliating accidents, while around half are overly cautious when they do giggle in public.
There are several types of this predicament. Stress incontinence happens when the pressure on your bladder as it fills is greater than the strength of the tube which urine passes through, thus resulting in some liquid escaping if any extra pressure is put on (sneezing, coughing etc). This could be caused by anything from childbirth, to bladder damage or even obesity.
There's also urge incontinence. The detrusor muscles are in control when you use the toilet, contracting to let you go. But if they contract too often you'll need the loo a lot more, often referred to as having an overactive bladder. In this case drinking too much alcohol or caffeine could be the cause, or even lack of fluid may be to blame as the highly concentrated urine irritates the muscles.
Another incontinence is overflow, which is also referred to as chronic urinary retention. This happens when there's a blockage or obstruction to your bladder, resulting in you not being able to empty it fully and suffering from leaks due to the pressure building up. Bladder stones or constipation could cause this, or your detrusor muscles not fully contracting which could be down to damage to your nerves.
The worst case scenario is total incontinence, when you can't store any urine at all, triggered by a problem from birth, an injury to your spinal cord disrupting the nerves passed between your bladder and brain or a bladder fistula, a small tunnel-like hole which is formed.
Dr Naomi Potter, GP and women’s health expert, has advised females to seek help in this area.
“This isn’t a condition you just have to live with; there are a range of treatment options available which are easy to use and clinically proven to help women strengthen their pelvic floor muscles, helping them to regain control of their bladder and of their confidence," she explained as part of the study.
There are various treatments on offer, from behavioural training or lifestyle changes including particular pelvic exercises, to medicines or even surgery. Talk to an expert to make the best decision, but whatever you do, don't make it a problem you live with.