Millions of women suffer from incontinence or overactive bladder. The good news is that there are treatments available.
Many women feel uncomfortable or embarrassed to talk about bladder issues and urinary issues but these problems are more common than you may think. These medical issues are linked to the pelvic floor muscles. If you don’t know what the pelvic floor is, it is a group of muscles that helps stabilize the core muscles and helps with important body functions such as urinating, having a bowel movement, and having sex. These muscles can weaken over time or be injured. When this happens, it can lead to urinary, bowel, and reproductive organ issues. Two of the most common conditions that affect the pelvic floor are incontinence and overactive bladder. There is a misconception that these disorders only affect older women but that is untrue.
According to Mayo Clinic urogynecologist, Dr. Olivia Cardenas-Trowers, “About 1 in 4 women over age 20 have some type of pelvic floor disorder and that can include leakage of urine or stool; urgency; as well as other issues, such as feeling like their vagina is coming down.”1
Getting a sudden urgency to urinate is a condition known as overactive bladder. It is estimated that about 33 million Americans are affected by an overactive bladder. The urge to urinate can be difficult to control and happen at any time. Dr. Cardenas-Trowers says, “When you get to a bathroom, your bladder muscles contract and force urine out of the bladder. Overactive bladder can result from the nerve signals between the bladder and the brain not functioning properly.”1 Incontinence is another common problem that occurs when someone unintentionally leaks urine. There is a type of incontinence referred to as stress incontinence which happens when urine is leaked when someone coughs, sneezes, laughs, or exercises.
Many people feel embarrassed or ashamed to talk about these issues but they are more common than people think and there are treatment options. “Many women believe that these issues are normal and nothing can be done. Conversely, other women are embarrassed or uncomfortable discussing pelvic issues. I encourage all women to speak to their health specialist if they are experiencing any pelvic floor concerns. Contrary to belief, there are now many options to help manage symptoms and improve one’s quality of life”, says Dr. Cardeanas-Trowers.1
Treatment options for pelvic floor disorders include medications, medical devices, physical therapy, and surgery. If you are suffering from pelvic floor issues make an appointment to speak with your healthcare provider or a urogynecologist. They can review treatment options that will work best for you.
- Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, September 23). Bladder issues common for women of all ages – mayo clinic news network. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved December 11, 2022