Perry County Memorial Hospital | Health Scene | Spring 2018

Sneezing should make you reach for tissues. But if you find yourself grabbing toilet paper instead because you leaked some urine, you’re not alone. Many women struggle with stress incontinence—a loss of bladder control triggered by activities that can put pressure on the bladder, such as sneezing, laughing or exercising. Why does it happen? Pelvic muscles weakened by childbirth are often to blame. Menopause may also play a role. Some doctors suspect that dropping estrogen levels weaken pelvic muscles, which could explain why more older women have stress incontinence than younger ones. Stress incontinence is the most common type of in- continence in women—but it’s not the only one. Women may also have: ●   ● Urge incontinence. Here, the need to urinate comes on suddenly, before you can get to the bathroom. ●   ● Mixed incontinence. This is a combination, often of both stress and urge incontinence. Speak up Yes, admitting to accidents can be embarrassing. But don’t keep a treatable problem a secret. Incontinence can often be controlled or cured. And the first step in managing it is to tell your pri- mary care provider that you’re having problems. Your provider may advise: Kegel exercises. You do them by squeezing the muscles you use to stop or slow urination. Lifestyle changes. If you’re overweight, dropping pounds may make urine leaks less frequent. So can stopping smoking, drinking less caffeine and eating enough fiber to avoid constipation. Bladder training. You may regain bladder control by going to the bathroom at set times—before you get the urge—and slowly increasing the time between trips. Medications. Estrogen cream may help if you have mild stress incontinence. And certain medicines can also prevent the bladder spasms that cause urge incontinence. Surgery. When more conservative measures fail, surgery may be helpful for stress incontinence. Sources: American Academy of Family Physicians; AmericanCollege ofObstetricians andGy- necologists;American UrologicalAssociation; U.S. Departmentof Health and HumanServices While urinary incontinence most often strikes women, a lot of men are also living with bladder-control problems that may prevent them from socializing, being active and enjoying life. Urinary incontinence in men can have many causes, such as: ●   ● Physical inactivity and obesity. ●   ● Prostate problems, including an enlarged prostate. ●   ● Nerve damage from an injury to the brain or spinal cord. ●   ● Neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. Some men may try to keep their incontinence to themselves. But they shouldn’t. If you’re a man who leaks urine, tell your primary care provider. Treatment is available. And talking about it is the first step. Source: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Women: Don’t keep it a secret Don’t keep a treatable problem a secret. Our providers at Perry County Women’s Care can help. Call 547-4899 today! I NCON T I N E NC E Men can have bladder problems too 6 Life & HEALTH